- Microsoft will decouple Teams from its Microsoft 365 and Office 365 bundles for customers in the European Economic Area and Switzerland, the company announced Thursday in a blog post.
- Starting Oct. 1, the company will make its collaboration platform available to enterprise customers as a standalone solution, at 5 euros per month or 60 euros per year.
- The unbundling is part of a series of "proactive changes" the provider is taking in response to an inquiry led by the European Commission, the company said. Microsoft also plans to improve interoperability resources within Teams and facilitate third-party solutions hosting on Microsoft Office.
In July, the European Commission launched a formal inquiry into whether or not Microsoft's bundling of Teams within Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites breached EU competition rules.
"In particular, the Commission is concerned that Microsoft may grant Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers the choice on whether or not to include access to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites and may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings," the EC said in a statement.
Prior to the inquiry, Slack introduced a complaint against Microsoft in 2020 related to Teams' bundling. At the time, the collaboration software company denounced Microsoft's "illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law."
EU customers who choose to adopt Microsoft 365 without Teams will see a slight decrease in their yearly, per-seat price, according to Microsoft.
“Removing Teams from the suites will reduce the budget of the small number of customers who exclusively use Zoom or Slack alongside a Microsoft 365 suite," said Larry Cannell, senior director analyst at Gartner. "However, this change does not affect the vast majority of Microsoft or Office 365 customers."
Teams is integrated throughout the rest of Microsoft's enterprise offerings, Cannell said. Some features in Outlook, OneDrive and other products rely on Teams, making some features only available through that front-end.
"Interestingly, a standalone version of Teams is a viable alternative for Google or Slack shops," said Cannell. "Microsoft provides an add-on for scheduling Teams meetings within Google Workspace. Slack offers a similar integration with Teams meetings and calls."