Tech giant Microsoft has made a significant decision regarding its Teams offering in Europe. This step is the direct response to the European Commission’s growing concerns about competition.
Separation of Teams from Windows and Office 365 Packages in Europe
Starting next October, Teams will no longer be part of the Windows 365 and Office 365 packages in Europe. Business users will be able to purchase it separately for a monthly cost of 5€ or an annual fee of 60€. The matter originated from a complaint by Slack in 2020. According to Slack, the presence of Teams in Microsoft’s subscription plans was an unfair market practice.
The European Commission, in response, launched an antitrust investigation in July this year, prompting Microsoft to review its offerings. The news on Office packages does not stop, as demonstrated by the news of python integration in Excel, the addition of add-ins in Office apps, and the introduction of Aptos, the new font that will replace Calibri.
Office 2021 Professional
Microsoft’s decision on Teams
Nanna-Louise Linde, head of European government affairs for Microsoft, stated: “We are introducing proactive changes hoping to address these concerns. We continue to cooperate with the European Commission during the investigation.” The changes affect the Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Office 365 E1, E3, and E5 plans. With the removal of Teams, the prices will be reduced by 2€ per month, leading to annual savings of 24€. Teams will continue to be included in select Microsoft 365 Business offerings, with alternative plans offered at slightly reduced prices.
Microsoft was rumored to have offered to separate Teams from the Office suite to avoid an investigation but no deal was reached. In addition to the separation of Teams, Microsoft announced improvements to the documentation to facilitate the integration of Zoom and Slack with their platforms. The company will also let rivals integrate Office web applications into their ecosystems.
Although Microsoft shows flexibility, it still needs to be seen if this will be enough for satisfying the European Commission. Only time and the results of the investigation will tell.