From www.theverge.com

Microsoft, possibly hoping to deflect the blow of an ongoing antitrust investigation in the EU, is spinning Teams off from Office 365 to sell as its own separate app globally, Reuters reported today. Company spokesperson Robin Koch told The Verge via email that Microsoft is making the change to its business chat and conferencing app “to ensure clarity for our customers” after already doing so in the EU last year.

According to a new Microsoft blog post announcing the global rollout of its EU changes, Microsoft’s existing customers should be able to keep their current deal, which bundles Teams with Office and other products, renew, update, or pick a new offer. For anyone signing up fresh, Teams on its own will cost $5.25 for the Enterprise version, while Office packages without Teams will run from $7.75 to $54.75.

Microsoft first spun off Teams in the EU in August last year, a month after the European Commission started investigating whether the bundling violated its competition rules. The investigation followed a 2020 anticompetitive complaint from Slack, when Teams saw massive growth amid the covid-19 pandemic. This latest decision comes just over a week after the US Justice Department sued Apple, accusing it of antitrust behavior (and congratulating itself for helping Apple prevail over Microsoft with a previous ruling).

As Reuters notes, it’s still possible the EU will charge the company with a violation, even with this change. There’s plenty at stake here for the company, though, as an antitrust fine could equal up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover.

Update April 1st, 2024, 12:34PM ET: Added attribution and a link to Microsoft’s blog post detailing the changes.

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The post Microsoft splits Teams from Office as antitrust pressure ramps up first appeared on www.theverge.com

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