Microsoft bows to EU competition concerns over Teams
August 31, 2023 03:57 PM
Microsoft will unbundle its Teams communications from its popular Office suite in an attempt to assuage EU antitrust concerns, the company said Thursday.
The European Commission launched the investigation in July to see whether the US tech giant was "abusing and defending its market position" by bundling the software together.
If the commission probe finds against Microsoft, the company could face a hefty fine or other ordered remedies.
In a bid to address the concerns, Microsoft will unbundle Teams from its Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites in the European Economic Area and Switzerland from October 1, the company's vice president on European government affairs, Nanna-Louise Linde, said.
Customers will now be able to buy the software without Teams at a lower price, she added.
"We are announcing proactive changes that we hope will start to address these concerns in a meaningful way, even while the European Commission's investigation continues and we cooperate with it," Linde wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft bundles Teams with its cloud-based Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites, which include its popular Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Excel programmes.
Teams is a platform that allows users to communicate through messages, video calls and file sharing.
The trigger for the commission's probe was a July 2020 complaint from Slack, a US startup competitor to Teams which has since been bought by the company Salesforce.
The commission had also expressed concerns that Microsoft may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and rival products.
Microsoft will now make it easier for rivals' software to work with the firm's own.
There is no set deadline for the EU's investigation to be completed.
"We will continue to engage with the commission, listen to concerns in the marketplace, and remain open to exploring pragmatic solutions that benefit both customers and developers in Europe," Linde said.