22nd February 2024 3:23 pm
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Microsoft unbundling Teams in EU to appease regulators

  • Microsoft has announced that it unbundling its Teams videoconferencing platform from Office 365 and Microsoft 365 in the EU.
  • The decision follows a complaint made by Slack against Microsoft three years ago.
  • In order to avoid any potential antitrust lawsuits, Microsoft will unbundle the application starting 1st October.

Microsoft is once again on the radar of regulators in the European Union, but not for its continued pursuit of Activision Blizzard. This time around it is a Microsoft application which has become quite popular in recent years as a result of the pandemic – Teams.

Earlier today, the company confirmed in a blog post that it is unbundling Teams from Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites in the EU, following a complaint filed against it by Slack some three years ago. Slack claims that bundling Teams in with the productivity suites was done illegally, especially as consumers had no real way of removing the application from their systems.

In order to avoid any potential antitrust lawsuit over the matter, Microsoft has chosen to unbundle the videoconferencing application from both Office 365 and Microsoft 365 from 1st October.

As Engadget reports, Microsoft had agreed to unbundle Teams earlier this year, but it was seemingly dragging its feet on the process. The pace was sped up when the European Commission got involved in July of this year with a probe into the matter, and now a month later, a decision and deadline have finally been reached.

“We appreciate the clarity that has emerged on several of the concerns from extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission. With the benefit of this clarity, we believe it is important that we start to take meaningful steps to address those concerns,” noted Nanna-Louise Linde, VP for Microsoft European Government Affairs.

“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,” she added.

What this means for Teams in other regions remains to be seen, but in the EU, after 1st October the cost of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 enterprise versions will be €2 less per month. Interestingly, it looks like Microsoft will charge €5 for access to Teams as a standalone cost for enterprise customers, although it is unclear where the €3 difference is.

Moving forward, Microsoft says it will also, “create new mechanisms to enable third-party solutions to host Office web applications.”

“While Microsoft Office file formats are documented so that any program can open, edit, and display documents created in programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, we have heard requests from competitors of Teams that they would like to rely on Microsoft’s functionality instead of building their own. To address these requests, we will develop a new method for hosting the Office web applications within competing apps and services much like Microsoft accomplishes in Teams,” Linde concluded.

[Image – Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash]

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