Microsoft has announced that it will unbundle Teams from Microsoft 365 and Office 365
starting October 1. This comes as a response to concerns that have led to an antitrust investigation in Europe.
The European Commission officially opened an investigation
at the end of July, following complaints raised about Microsoft’s practices related to the inclusion of its collaboration tool Teams within Microsoft 365 and Office 365 for business customers.
The investigation centers on determining if Microsoft’s practices equitably allow European customers the choice of collaboration tools, in particular due to the rise of hybrid and remote working environments.
The two main practices under investigation are the bundling of Teams in its business suites and the lack of interoperability capabilities to allow other tools to work seamlessly with Microsoft solutions.
There is no target end date for the investigation, and Microsoft has chosen to proactively respond to the concerns raised by the European Commission by announcing that as of October 1, it will unbundle Teams from Microsoft 365 and Office 365 in European Economic Area and Switzerland, reducing the unit price of the offering
New enterprise customers will still be able to purchase Teams, either as a standalone product or in addition to the productivity suite. Existing enterprise customers who already have contracts with Teams included can choose to update to a version without Teams or remain with their current offering. Smaller businesses will have the option of suites with Teams or suites without Teams for a lower price.
Although Microsoft provides interoperability for applications like Zoom and Salesforce, it concedes that it “could do more in terms of providing support and making development easier.” Microsoft will create new support resources to help external providers more easily use and integrate Microsoft APIs and extensibility capabilities. It will also create new ways to allow third-party solutions to host Office web applications.
Microsoft is hoping these actions will adequately respond to the concerns raised and Nanna-Louise Linde, Vice President of Microsoft European Government Affairs, says “[Microsoft] will continue to engage with the Commission, listen to concerns in the marketplace, and remain open to exploring pragmatic solutions that benefit both customers and developers in Europe.”