In a significant turn of events, Microsoft has announced its decision to alter the way it offers its popular Teams application to business customers in Europe. This comes a month after the European Union began an antitrust investigation into the tech giant’s practice of bundling Teams with its Office software.
Decoupling Teams from Office Suite
Starting October 1, businesses within the EU and in four additional European countries can purchase Teams independently, rather than being compelled to buy it as part of the Microsoft 365 and Office 365 bundles.
This move is seen as an attempt by the company to address antitrust concerns and provide more flexible purchasing options for its users. Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft's vice-president for European government affairs, emphasized the company's commitment to competitive pricing and optimal solutions.
In a recent blog post, she remarked, “We believe these changes balance the interests of our competitors with those of European business customers, providing them with access to the best possible solutions at competitive prices”.
Pricing Adjustments and Future Commitments
Furthermore, Microsoft has revealed that it will reduce the monthly charge for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 by €2 ($2.2) for major business customers who opt not to include the Teams app in their suite.
Newly onboarded "enterprise customers" can acquire Teams, which has been heralded for its video-conferencing prowess, at a standalone price of €5 ($5.4) per month. Linde elaborated on options available to current users: “Existing enterprise customers who already have a suite with Teams can choose to stay with their current productivity suite or to move to a without-Teams suite”.
While Microsoft is introducing these modifications, the company remains fully engaged with the EU investigation. Linde indicated Microsoft's commitment to constructive dialogue, stating the company will “remain open to exploring pragmatic solutions that benefit both customers and developers in Europe”.
Microsoft’s decision to decouple Teams from its Office suite in Europe could set a precedent. Whether this is a one-off response or the beginning of a broader trend remains to be seen. However, for now, European businesses can anticipate more flexibility and choices when deciding on Microsoft products.
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