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Microsoft’s Global Decoupling of Teams and Office Apps Post EU Split

These adjustments offer potential savings for individuals seeking Office apps without Teams integration.

After months of untangling the apps within the European Union, Microsoft is extending the Office and Teams separation worldwide. According to Reuters, Microsoft is set to begin selling Teams and other Microsoft 365 applications as standalone products, each with its own pricing, starting today for new commercial customers. 

“To ensure clarity for our customers, we are extending the measures implemented last year to separate Teams from M365 and O365 within the European Economic Area and Switzerland, now applying them globally,” stated a Microsoft spokesperson. “This decision also reflects feedback from the European Commission, offering multinational companies greater flexibility in standardizing their purchasing processes across different regions.”

The separation comes in the wake of an EU regulatory inquiry launched in July 2023, almost precisely three years after Slack first lodged a complaint. The complaint alleged that Microsoft was “abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law.”

In August 2023, Microsoft revealed its plans to unbundle the apps within the EU and Switzerland by October. The move came after Bloomberg reported in September that Zoom had engaged in discussions with EU and US Federal Trade Commission regulators regarding Microsoft, intensifying the regulatory scrutiny on the tech giant.

In October, Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft’s European Government Affairs VP, characterized the unbundling and other initiatives as “proactive changes that we hope will begin to address these concerns in a significant manner.” Despite the ongoing EU investigation, with potential fines looming, Linde also mentioned Microsoft’s commitment to allowing third-party apps like Zoom and Slack to integrate more seamlessly with Office apps. Additionally, she stated that Microsoft would “facilitate third-party solutions to host Office web applications.”

Microsoft has published a blog post outlining its updated pricing structure, which currently applies exclusively to the Business, Enterprise, and Frontline versions of Microsoft 365 plans. As of now, the changes do not impact the Consumer, Academic, US Government, and Nonprofit editions of Microsoft 365, which will continue to bundle Teams as previously.

Existing Office/Microsoft 365 Enterprise clients who wish to retain access to both the Office apps and Teams can maintain their current subscriptions at existing rates. Meanwhile, new subscribers to the Enterprise editions of Microsoft 365/Office 365 have the option to pay $5.25 per user per month for Teams, whether they opt for Teams as standalone software or choose to add it onto a Teams-free Office/Microsoft 365 subscription.

In the case of the Business and Frontline versions of Microsoft 365, users have the choice to either purchase the version that includes Teams at the previous price or opt for a new Teams-free option, which offers savings of a few dollars per user per month. For instance, the Teams-less variant of Microsoft 365 Business Standard is priced at $10.25 per user per month, while the version with Teams included remains at $12.50 per user per month.

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