Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Microsoft Teams has been part of the Microsoft 365 package for years, alongside the classic Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. That is now changing.

Microsoft will now sell its Teams video and chat app to businesses separately from Microsoft 365 in all countries. Teams was originally included in the same package as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and other applications, so companies that already paid for those applications could use Teams at no extra cost. That was viewed as anticompetitive, especially against Slack, and the European Union started investigating the bundle in 2023.

Microsoft already started selling Teams and Office separately in the European Union and Switzerland, but now the company has done the same worldwide. A Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters, “To ensure clarity for our customers, we are extending the steps we took last year to unbundle Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland to customers globally. Doing so also addresses feedback from the European Commission by providing multinational companies more flexibility when they want to standardise their purchasing across geographies.”

This move won’t affect most people, as most Teams workspaces are managed and paid for by companies and organizations. Some of those companies might now switch to Slack or another competitor. Microsoft Teams is only sold to home users as part of Microsoft 365 Personal or Family, with the latter plan giving you a shared chat space for up to six people in your family. However, Discord is usually a better cross-platform service for group chats.

Microsoft is mostly unbundling Teams from Office to prevent more antitrust fines from the European Union, though it might not be enough. Windows 11 was recently updated in the EU to comply with the region’s Digital Markets Act (the same one that forced Apple to add third-party app stores on EU iPhones), allowing more applications to be uninstalled, Bing to be completely removed from the Start Menu and system search, and improved default apps settings.

If you use Microsoft Teams for your job, there’s a chance you might be switched to Slack in the coming months. If you’re still stuck with Teams, at least the desktop app is improving.

Source: Reuters

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By John P.

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