Microsoft to prevent packaging Teams and Office software in Europe from heading off the EU antitrust movement

September 04, 2023: On Thursday, Microsoft prevented packaging Teams and Office software in Europe from heading off the EU antitrust movement.

Starting October 1 this year, Microsoft will market the containers without Teams at a discounted expense totaling a 24 euro per year reduction in the EEA and Swiss regions. Existing customers who already own a suite with Teams can decide to stay with their current package or migrate to a product without the videoconferencing app.

The subscription-based Microsoft 365 bundle, formerly known as Office 365, previously prized Teams as the crown jewel of its workplace-geared app offerings, which include Word and Excel. The Teams software debuted in 2017 and gained ground with users as it facilitated workplace text and video communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft in March said it intended to roll out a new version of Teams that will be twice as fast as its predecessor.

European Union regulators had in July opened an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s bundling of Teams with other Office products, citing anti-competitive concerns.

The ongoing probe marked the first EU antitrust investigation into Microsoft in over a decade, with a Salesforce-owned Teams rival Slack submitting a complaint to European authorities on competitiveness grounds in 2020.

EU officials expressed concern that the Redmond tech titan “may grant Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers a choice on whether or not to include an allowance to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites and may have stopped the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings.”

On Thursday, Microsoft promised to also enhance resources on interoperability with Microsoft 365 and Office 365. It will also create mechanisms to host Office web applications within contesting apps and services.

“We appreciate the clarity on several concerns from the extensive and constructive talk with the European Commission. With the benefit of this clarity, we believe it is important that we take significant steps to address those concerns,” Nanna-Louise Linde, vice president of Microsoft European Government Affairs, said on Thursday.

“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,” she added, recognizing that the EU investigation is currently in its early stages.

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Microsoft to prevent packaging Teams and Office software in Europe from heading off the EU antitrust movement