Microsoft has announced a strategic move to address antitrust concerns by separating its popular chat and video application, Teams, from its Office suite of products globally.

This decision follows a similar unbundling effort in Europe six months ago, seen as an attempt to avoid potential fines from the European Union.

Since 2020, the European Commission has been investigating Microsoft’s bundling of Office and Teams following a complaint by Slack, a competing workspace messaging app owned by Salesforce.

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Initially offered for free to Office 365 users in 2017, Teams gained popularity, particularly during the pandemic, for its strong video conferencing features.

Critics argued that including Teams with Office gave Microsoft an unfair advantage. Consequently, Microsoft began selling the products separately in the EU and Switzerland last year.

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To address concerns and offer more flexibility to customers, Microsoft will globally extend the unbundling initiative, Reuters reported.

“Customers outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will now have the choice to buy Office suites without Teams. Additionally, Microsoft will introduce a standalone Teams option for enterprise customers in these regions.”

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The new commercial Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites, excluding Teams, became available from April 1st.

“Existing customers can stick with their current licensing agreements or switch to the new options upon renewal. For new commercial customers, Office prices without Teams will range from $7.75 to $54.75, while standalone Teams will be priced at $5.25, with pricing variations based on location and currency.”

However, industry sources suggest that Microsoft’s unbundling efforts may not fully address antitrust concerns.

Rivals still criticize the fees for using their messaging services with Office Web Applications, casting doubt on Microsoft’s compliance with fair competition practices.

Microsoft’s move reflects a broader trend of tech companies facing increased regulatory scrutiny globally.

As Microsoft tackles these challenges, its decision to sell Teams separately highlights its commitment to addressing regulatory concerns while offering innovative solutions to its global customer base.

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