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Microsoft Decouples Teams in Europe to Evade EU Antitrust Penalties

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After pledging in April, Microsoft has now declared its decision to detach Teams from its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 bundles within the European Union. This development comes after a complaint filed by Slack three years ago, accusing Microsoft of unfair practices by bundling Teams with its suites and preventing users from uninstalling it.

Earlier this year, Microsoft consented to separate Teams, though specifics were hazy. By July, the European Commission’s patience seemed to wane, initiating an investigation into the legality of Microsoft’s bundling strategy under EU competition regulations.

Seeking to adhere to regulations and maintain a cooperative stance with the European Commission, Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft’s VP of European Government Affairs, expressed in a blog post, “Our aim as a leading tech provider is to ensure a competitive ecosystem. The guidance provided after thorough discussions with the European Commission has been enlightening. Thus, we’re keen to address these concerns actively, recognizing that they might not placate all stakeholders. Yet, this initiative signifies our commitment to bringing immediate and impactful market transformations.”

Effective from October 1st, customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can avail Microsoft 365 and Office 365 for €2 less each month, or a yearly reduction of €24. Concurrently, Teams will be up for grabs as a standalone service at €5 monthly or €60 annually. Those who’ve already invested in a suite can retain their current package or opt to exclude Teams. Notably, for frontline workers or small enterprises in the region, Teams will remain an option within their package.

Additionally, Microsoft is set to enhance its support, directing developers to public APIs and addressing user queries, especially around data transfer within Teams. Furthermore, they’re committed to innovating ways to make their applications more interoperable with rival platforms.

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