Microsoft unveils global unbundling of Teams from Office Suite amid regulatory scrutiny

Microsoft announces the worldwide separation of Teams from Office suite in response to antitrust scrutiny, aiming to provide transparency and flexibility while navigating regulatory challenges and promoting fair competition in the digital market.

By Raunak Bose
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Microsoft unveils global unbundling of Teams from Office Suite amid regulatory scrutiny

Microsoft (Image via TechFirstNow)

Microsoft, the world’s leading and biggest software enterprise, has addressed the community about its intention to delink the well-known and popular Chat and Video Conferencing application, Teams, from its flagship Office program, Worldwide. This decision comes at a time when the business was under the pressure of the EU regulators, particularly the European Commission, who questioned the bundling of Office and Teams following the antitrust complaint brought in 2020 by the competing software of Salesforce who is a rival of Slack.

In 2017 Microsoft announced that Teams would be integrated with Office 365 at absolutely no cost. It was during the pandemic that the platform experienced a really strong growth, and together with Skype for Business is regarded as the top solution for holding online meetings and remote collaboration. However, opponents, in contrast, have also attacked this initiative by saying that this is actually causing the game to be played in favour of Microsoft.

Microsoft had already responded to these concerns, as Teams had been previously disconnected from Office 365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland since August 2023. The technology multinational is spreading this concept all around the world in order to break up clients in diverse regions, so that people in one region would be able to make different purchasing decisions from those in another region.

Microsoft addressed concerns and promoted flexibility in Teams

A Microsoft spokesperson in a later response pointed out that the company strives for transparency as well as interacting with customers properly by saying, "With the aim of clarity for our customers, we keep up the moves we took recently by detaching Microsoft Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area as well as Switzerland and later provide the same for customers all over the world."

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (via TIME)
Microsoft is literally going to put out a completely new collection of Enterprise Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites for the EEA which doesn't include Teams. What is more, the Teams for both sectors in these regions will be kept independent to ensure effective delivery of customized solutions. These measures will be available from April 1st onwards and users will have the choice to follow their existing license arrangements, expand, upgrade or migrate to new ones.

Rates for a new customer to choose Office without Teams will be $7.75-$54.75 respectively. Alongside this, the stripped-down Teams offer is costing at $5.25. It is worth indicating that these numbers can differ from country to country,due to their different currencies. On the other hand, Microsoft's intentions about the bundled product pricing policy is still not revealed.
In spite of these measures, Microsoft may not be immune to potential antitrust litigation as a consequence of the strategy to unbundle.Competitors in the very same sector always complain about irregular fees and insufficient compatibility between their email services and Office Web Applications by Microsoft. The reports are saying that the EU can kick off antitrust charges anytime soon and Microsoft is now standing the chance of getting the highest fines in history which can reach up to 10% of its global income per year.

While Microsoft is dealing with these regulatory issues, its efforts to stand the Teams up from the Office toolkit signify a wider shift towards ensuring fair competition and encouraging innovation in the digital market.

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