Could Microsoft's forced unbundling of Teams and Office in Europe be the start of a bigger, global unravelling? Watch this space, at least if Zoom CEO Eric Yuan gets his way.
Reports out of a recent event suggest that the Zoom head honcho is throwing some shade Microsoft's way after EU antitrust regulators told the Redmond-based tech giant to separate the two products earlier this week.
This would be welcome news for users of Zoom, Slack, or any video conferencing app not named Teams, as the automatic booting of Microsoft's workplace communications platform at the start of every Windows session is a real pain in the backside.
Zoom CEO: FTC Should Follow EU's Lead with Teams
According to Bloomberg, Yuan made the comments speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference in San Francisco, California.
Asked a question about the recent unbundling of Teams and Office in Europe, which followed a complaint made by Slack, Yuan is reported as saying: “You should ask this question to the FTC as well.”
He added that customers are starting to realize the hidden costs of using “the so-called free service” of competitors like Teams.
“We have huge competitors, sometimes they bundle everything together,” Blooomberg quotes the Zoom CEO as saying earlier in his remarks. “No matter what, you've got to be fair.”
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In Fairness to Microsoft…
While we're all for the latest twist in the Teams vs Zoom plot, in fairness Microsoft isn't the only company who bundles its products together in a bid to entice customers. While Slack (succesfully) argued to the EU that the bundling of Teams with Office for free essentially killed its chances in Europe, there are plenty more examples out there.
If you're reading this at home, there's every chance your internet access comes bundled with your cable subscription; and if you're on a smartphone, that you got your handset and phone contract as part of the same deal. Google does it with Meet and its Workspace suite, Adobe bundles all of its products as Creative Cloud, and so on.
The issue, therefore, isn't the longstanding sales practice of bundling, but the unfair competitive advantage this can create when done in a certain way.
Microsoft Also Edges Away From Browser Baiting
Microsoft has also quietly revealed via the change notes for by a new Windows 11 build that it will stop forcing its Edge browsers on Windows users in Europe.
Starting with Windows 10, clicking links from the Widgets panel or from your PC's search results automatically opened in Edge, no matter what you had set as your default browser – something that was already difficult enough to change.
However, Microsoft users in most European countries will now have their default browser choice respected.
“In the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows system components use the default browser to open links,” the tech giant writes.
While it's not certain this is also the EU's doing, it seems unlikely Microsoft would have had the sudden change of heart were it not prompted – especially as it looks like it will continue baiting users into using Edge as a browser in the US.