As online collaborative platforms become the cornerstone of modern workplaces, competition for market share among tech companies grows fiercer. Now, the outcome of an investigation could reshape what tools hybrid and remote workspaces incorporate.
The European Commission (EC) has recently launched an investigation into Microsoft’s practice of bundling its Teams collaboration tool with its Office 365 suite, according to Verdict. This development is not just a matter of market competition — it could directly impact remote and hybrid work.
The essence of the EC’s concern is that Microsoft might be using its dominant position in productivity software to stifle competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) for communication and collaboration products. With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, collaboration tools have become the backbone of organizational communication. Microsoft’s bundling strategy makes Teams an almost default choice for enterprises — potentially overshadowing other competitors in the space.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, which in turn made collaboration tools indispensable to the workforce. While the initial focus was on ensuring connectivity, the post-pandemic era is seeing companies re-evaluating their collaboration tool choices — mainly aiming for cost optimization, according to Verdict. With Teams being essentially “free” and fully integrated with Office 365, it has become a go-to choice for many workplaces around the globe and in Europe.
This dominance by Microsoft adds a high amount of pressure to competing tech companies in the digital collaboration space. Despite the overall collaboration market witnessing robust growth since 2020, Microsoft’s competitors are either growing slowly or experiencing a decline in revenues. This trend suggests that the tech landscape, especially in the realm of collaboration tools, is becoming increasingly competitive.
Some of Microsoft’s corporate rivals in the competitive race to become mainstays in hybrid work environments include Zoom, Salesforce/Slack, Google, and Cisco. Diversity in the market is essential for innovation in any industry, especially when creating tools that cater to the needs of remote and hybrid workers.
As the popularity for remote and hybrid work models continue to gain traction, the tools that support those environments will become more important for the workforce, and the tech landscape will likely see heightened competition within this space in the coming years.