August 31, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Coalition for Fair Software (CFSL) Executive Director Ryan Triplette released the following statement in response to Microsoft’s announcement that the company will stop forcing some European Union customers to download its Teams software.
“This announcement proves that Microsoft is capable of doing the right thing for its customers but chooses not to unless compelled by regulatory scrutiny. As we noted in our comment to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the tying of Teams to the Office Suite is not a regional or product-specific issue.
“Microsoft has the power to flip a switch and offer its products separately, at any time and in any location it wants. However, unless the software giant’s entire restrictive licensing regime is unwound by regulators, it won’t.
“Microsoft uses restrictive software licensing tactics in the cloud to increase dependence on its products and limit choice for all customers. Making this change for a handful of European customers does not remedy the harms that the company’s behavior places on customers worldwide or the market distortion that has already taken place.
“Ultimately, today’s announcement is nothing more than a quick-fix that fails to address Microsoft’s broader, problematic conduct. This is why the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing requests that regulatory agencies around the world – including the FTC – open investigations into Microsoft.”
Earlier this year, the FTC issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the business practices in cloud computing that could impact competition and data security. In our public comment, the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing requested that the FTC open an investigation into Microsoft’s software licensing practices.
The Coalition’s comment also cites how Teams has become a dominant collaboration product as result of Microsoft’s tying practices, despite users uniformly rating Teams below its competitors in virtually every major category – including usability, reliability and functionality.
About the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing
The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing is a North American-based initiative seeking to unlock greater customer choice, innovation, and security in the cloud by advocating for the Principles of Fair Software Licensing. Our members span a cross-section of key industries, including healthcare companies, financial services businesses, as well as cloud and cybersecurity providers – each one has experienced or been exposed to anticompetitive and abusive software licensing practices in the cloud. Together, we are taking a stand against these predatory practices by advocating for the Principles of Fair Software Licensing to ensure more choice, innovation, and security in the cloud. To learn more about the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing, please visit FairSoftwareLicensing.com.