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Microsoft Splits Teams From Office in Europe After EU Pressure

Microsoft will allow business customers in Europe to buy its video and chat app Teams separately from its Office software, it said Thursday, a month after the European Union opened an antitrust investigation into the company’s bundling of the products.

The change will take effect from October 1, affecting business customers in the EU and four other European countries that use Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites.

Microsoft (MSFT) will also make it easier for other companies — for example, Zoom and Slack, which is owned by Salesforce — to integrate their products with Microsoft 365, the new name for Office 365.

“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,” Nanna-Louise Linde, the company’s vice-president for European government affairs, said in a blog post.

Microsoft will continue to engage with the investigation and “remain open to exploring pragmatic solutions that benefit both customers and developers in Europe,” she added.

The company will charge big business customers €2 ($2.2) less per month for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 — which include Word, Excel and Outlook among other apps — without the popular Teams app.

New such “enterprise customers” will be able to buy Teams, best-known for its video-conferencing feature, separately for €5 ($5.4) per month.

“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,” Linde said.

The blog post did not mention any changes for personal customers.

The EU launched its probe into possible anticompetitive practices by Microsoft following a 2020 complaint by Slack that alleged Microsoft illegally tied Teams to its dominant workplace software.

Source : CNN Business