With increased regulatory scrutiny and a complaint from rival Slack, Microsoft has stated that it will separate its Teams business collaboration software from its larger Office package.
The modifications take different forms depending on the consumer and go into effect on October 1 (one month from today). Enterprise users in the European Economic Area (EEA), which consists of Switzerland, the 27 members of the European Union (EU), as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, will be able to purchase a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription without Teams included and will be charged €2 less per month than they were previously. Microsoft will also make Teams available as a standalone solution for €5 per month, but only for the new users.
“We appreciate the clarity on several 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,” Nanna-Louise Linde, vice president of Microsoft European Government Affairs.
Microsoft also intends to enhance its documentation on compatibility with Microsoft 365 and Office 365 in conjunction with the Teams unbundling to make it easier for competitors like Zoom and Slack to integrate into Exchange, Outlook, and Teams. Similar to what it does with Teams, Microsoft will also permit competitors to run Office online applications within their own competing apps.
Microsoft wants to address at least some of Europe’s concerns with these adjustments while keeping the details of the solutions under its control. The Commission is worried about Microsoft’s potential to hinder compatibility between its own services and those of its rivals, whether intentionally or accidentally, among other antitrust-related issues.
For this reason, Microsoft has stated that it will create more tools and assistance to assist users and developers who want to make Microsoft Office connections or export data from Teams into other third-party applications. Furthermore, it declared that it intended to “create new mechanisms” that would let outside developers host Microsoft Office web apps without establishing their own integrations.