Microsoft To Separate Office And Teams Amid EU Antitrust Concerns

Software giant Microsoft announced the sale of its app Microsoft Teams, used for chat and video connections, separately from its Office products across the globe. The American company announced this on Monday, just a few months after it segregated two of its products in Europe to avoid a potential European Union antitrust penalty. 

Notably, the EU is probing Microsoft’s connection between Office and Teams after a rival workplace communication platform, Slack, filed a complaint in 2020. 

Microsoft Teams was added to Office 365 in 2017 and has been free for users since then. It had become significantly popular after the need arose for a video conferencing app during the pandemic. The app’s competitors, however, have said that the bundling of Teams with Office is unfair to the competition. Due to the accusations, Microsoft had already segregated Office and Teams in the EU and Switzerland in August last year. 

Reuters reported a spokesperson from the company saying,

To ensure clarity for our customers, we are extending the steps we took last year to unbundle Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland to customers globally.

Doing so also addresses feedback from the European Commission by providing multinational companies more flexibility when they want to standardise their purchasing across geographies,

With this implemented on April 1, 2024, users can either continue with their current license plans, which will include Office without Teams or choose to update or change the offer. 

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From now on, Microsoft Office without Teams will cost between $7.75 and $54.75, while the license for Teams will cost $5.25. 

However, this move might not be adequate to avert the EU antitrust fine, as Microsoft has been facing constant criticism from its competitors. If and when it is found to violate the EU guidelines, it could be penalized with about 10% of its annual revenue.