"Currently, Microsoft is actively blocking email addresses from registering a Microsoft Teams account. This severe anti-competitive practice forces our customers to register a second email address – possibly one from Microsoft themselves – to create a Teams account.

When asked to change the current situation, a spokesperson for Microsoft simply said it would not be possible for them to allow people to register a Teams account with a Tutanota email address. Period. We repeatedly tried to solve the issue with Microsoft, but unfortunately our request was ignored."

@blacklight Not sure I can decide whether that’s a bad thing or not. It’s bad-on-bad in a sense. That is, it’s MS’s email service limiting participation of MS Teams. I would gladly say to someone who tries to get me on MS Teams: “sorry no can do… my email address doesn’t work…” When city hall holds an MS Teams meeting, this gives extra cause for pushback against the city.

@blacklight Some people will register for an Outlook email acct, but there’s perhaps little hope for those pushovers anyway.

@koherecoWatchdog this is a point of view that can be summarized as "let them offer a bad product with arbitrary entry barriers: eventually people will get mad at them and the market will opt for a better option".

This is something that works when you have two competitors with e.g. a 50/50 market share split. If one of them creates entry barriers for the other (e.g. on user sign up), then they'd leave 50% of the market out. And, if the other service didn't create any such barriers, then the market will gradually elect it as the winner.

In the case of Microsoft, they own a considerable share of the market for office products and suites. Their main competitor, Google, trails slightly behind, but together they easily make ~90% of that market.

Microsoft has just blocked registrations from Tutanota accounts, while the Google suites only support email addresses that are owned or managed by Google. So we already have a very closed market where the provider establishes which email domains are valid. And, realistically, Tutanota users are probably < 0.1% of the total share of email accounts.

So this point of view is unlikely to work here because the market already consists of very two large entities that already impose arbitrary entry barriers, and the impact of this decision is likely to only hit a share of users that is nothing more than a rounding error for Microsoft.

@blacklight If you can use this to sue your city for making meetings that are supposed to be open to the public into an exclusive #walledGarden event, I’d say that’s a quite useful outcome from what MS would treat as a rounding error. Here’s a city that forced people to use Zoom:

@blacklight I know of a Danish public school that forced students to use MS Teams during the pandemic. MS office products have already been found to violate the GDPR. I’m not sure if the GDPR breaches reach MS email svc, but forcing students of a /public/ school to obtain a mobile phone (assuming outlook reg requires that) and feed personal data to MS could trigger grounds for legal action.

@blacklight There’s little hope of fixing the private sector. We can vote w/our feet & exercise boycott rights & that’s it. The public sector is where these battles should be fought. It’s where we can get results. When dealing w/a public service that all people are entitled to, you can take legal action when the public service decides to use a private walled garden to restrict access.

@blacklight So when MS Teams decides to marginalize some people and kick #Tutanota users to the curb, that’s an opportunity… it’s cause of action to force MS Teams out of the public sector -- which in the end is the most important place to have rights b/c we can’t boycott tax-funded public services.

@koherecoWatchdog I agree on this, but then we're talking of something different than the "let the market punish them for creating barriers" - which would involve gathering enough outraged people to jump the boat because of Microsoft's limitations and cause the needle to swing, because that's the only way of changing things when we target the private sector.

This is more an acknowledgment of being a rounding error from a market perspective, but a rounding error that can be noisy when we talk about public sector, because that's where we can call our representatives accountable.

And I agree that this is the only approach that can work. And we are also lucky to have in Europe an ally like Vestager who knows this field and these actors quite well.

I've recently made her office aware of how Google kicked FairMail out of the Play Store with no valid reason. And I've done the same with other anti-competitive behaviour from Microsoft and Google. I'll probably write to them again about the issue, since Microsoft has already been in their crosshair recently because of the anti-trust trial triggered by NextCloud in Germany. The more we bring the attention of our representatives to all of these issues, the better the resulting anti-trust legislation will be.

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