From October 2023, Microsoft Teams will no longer be offered as part of the company's 365 suite to users in Europe as the company bids to appease regulators.
An antitrust investigation was launched by the European Commission last month into Microsoft's inclusion of its video conferencing software in the Office bundle. It followed from a complaint by productivity rival Slack, who claimed that doing so was illegal.
Nanna-Louise Linde, Vice President of Microsoft European Government Affairs, said that the changes will looktoo, "start to address these concerns in a meaningful way, even while the European Commission’s investigation continues and we cooperate with it."
Linde added that, "these changes will impact our Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites for business customers in the European Economic Area and Switzerland."
Enterprise customers on the continent will therefore be able to subscribe to Microsoft 365 for the lower cost of €24 per year. Newcomers who want Teams will need to pay for a separate standalone version, which will cost €5 per month or €60 per year.
Existing subscribers remain unaffected, so they can continue to use Teams as part of their 365 package, or downgrade to the cheaper version without Teams if they wish.
Teams will also still be bundled with Microsoft 365 business plans for small businesses, even for new subscribers. Again, there will also be an option for these customers to omit Teams from the bundle, for a saving of €1 per month for Business Basic tiers or a €2 saving for Business Standard and Premium plans.
In addition, Microsoft says that it will also be improving documentation in regards to interoperability between 365 products - like Exchange, Outlook, and Teams - and rival software like Slack and Zoom. Office web apps will be able to be hosted within such rivals too.
Slack's original complaint came in 2020 during the pandemic, alleging that in tying Teams to Office, Microsoft was, “force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers.”
The EU is yet to confirm whether Microsoft's move to unbundle Teams will pass muster, but Linde seems confident that it will: "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.”
However, she also acknowledged that it is, "still in the early stages of the European Commission’s formal investigation. We 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.”