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Microsoft to unbundle Teams in Europe in bid to avoid EU antitrust fine Leave a comment

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Microsoft is finally making good on a promise it made back in April, with the company announcing that it will finally unbundle Teams from Office 365 and Microsoft 365 productivity suites across the European Union. The move follows a three-year saga that began when Slack filed an antitrust complaint against its competitor, claiming that including Teams in these bundles was illegal and that Microsoft was blocking some people from getting rid of the program. 

The tech giant finally agreed to separate Teams from its productivity suites earlier this year but said it was “unclear” how it would happen. Then, in July, the European Commission appeared to get tired of waiting and launched a probe into whether bundling Teams into productivity suites was in defiance of EU competition rules. 

Now, it seems Microsoft is trying to play nice and get the European Commission off its back. “We recognize our responsibility as a major technology provider to support a healthy competitive environment. We appreciate the clarity that has emerged on several of the concerns from extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission,” Microsoft’s vice president of European Government Affairs, Nanna-Louise Linde, said in the blog post announcing the decision. “With the benefit of this clarity, we believe it is important that we start to take meaningful steps to address those concerns. We do this not with the sense that this will necessarily resolve all concerns, whether from the Commission or our competitors, but we believe this is a constructive step that can start to lead to immediate and meaningful changes in the market.”

Well, now there’s a when and a how. Starting October 1st, Microsoft 365 and Office 365 should each be available for €2 less per month or €24 across the whole year for customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Teams should also be available on its own for €5 per month or €60 for the year. Anyone who previously bought a productivity suite can keep paying for the entire bundle or remove Teams switch plans. However, Microsoft claims that any frontline workers or small business owners in the region will still have the option to include Teams in their purchase. 

Microsoft also says it will create additional support resources to direct developers to public APIs and address questions from users, such as how their data is being transferred from Teams. Plus, Microsoft “will develop a new method” for using its programs in competing apps. 

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