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This article was published on September 1, 2023

Microsoft succumbs to EU pressure, will unbundle Teams from Office in Europe

The move was prompted by a complaint from Slack

Microsoft succumbs to EU pressure, will unbundle Teams from Office in Europe

In a bid to allay EU antitrust concerns, Microsoft will start unbundling Teams from the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites in European markets.

Microsoft announced the move on Thursday. The company said the software will be split in the European Economic Area, which unites the EU member states with Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, as well as in Switzerland.

The changes will commence on October 1. From that point, enterprise customers can buy Office 365 and Microsoft 365 without Teams at a lower price of €2 per month or €24 per year. To access Teams, they will need to buy a standalone subscription for €5 per month or €60 per year.

The move comes a month after the European Commission opened a formal investigation into the bundling of Teams.

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“Remote communication and collaboration tools like Teams have become indispensable for many businesses in Europe,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust commissioner, said when the investigation was launched.

“We must therefore ensure that the markets for these products remain competitive, and companies are free to choose the products that best meet their needs.”

The investigation had been prompted by an antitrust complaint filed by Slack. In 2020, the workplace collaboration app accused the Windows-maker of “abusing its market dominance” to stifle rivals.

Microsoft said it hopes that the unbundling eases the Commission’s concerns.

“We believe these changes balance the interests of our competitors with those of European business customers, providing them with access to the best possible solutions at competitive prices,” Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft’s vice president for European government affairs, said in a blog post.

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