Microsoft said on Thursday it would spin off its Teams chat and video app from its Office products, making rival products easier to use with its software, in a move aimed at avoiding possible EU antitrust fines.

A month later, the European Commission opened an investigation into Microsoft’s bundling of Office and Teams following complaints filed in 2020 by Salesforce-owned workspace messaging app Slack.

Microsoft’s initial concessions have failed to address concerns. The European Union’s competition enforcer said on Thursday it had taken note of the company’s statement, but declined to comment further.

Teams was added to Office 365 for free in 2017. It eventually replaced Skype for Business and has gained popularity during the pandemic, in part because of its video conferencing capabilities.

Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft’s vice president of European government affairs, said in a statement: “Today we are announcing positive changes that we hope will begin to address These are issues that we will cooperate with even as the European Commission’s investigation continues.” blog post.

She said the changes were aimed at addressing two concerns in the EU, “Customers should be able to opt for a business suite without Teams at a lower price than Teams included, and we should do more to make competitors’ communications and collaboration solutions Interoperability between Microsoft 365 and the Office 365 suite just got easier.”

These changes will take effect on October 1 and apply to Europe and Switzerland.

Office without Teams will be sold at a lower price of 2 euros (nearly 180 rupees) per month or 24 euros (nearly 2,160 rupees) per year to Microsoft’s core enterprise customers, which represent the bulk of the company’s European presence. commercial business.

New enterprise customers can buy Teams separately for €5 (nearly Rs 450) per month or €60 (nearly Rs 5,400) per year, while existing enterprise customers who already have the Teams suite can choose to keep or migrate. to the suite without Teams.

New support resources will be introduced to help customers and ISVs who want to delete data from Teams and use it in other products.

Microsoft will also develop a new method for hosting Office Web apps in competing apps and services, similar to what Teams does.

The stakes are high for the US tech giant, which has been fined 2.2 billion euros (nearly Rs 1,980 crore) by EU antitrust over the past decade for bundling or bundling two or more products, but has since has been seeking a more conciliatory approach with the EU. Regulatory Authority.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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