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Slack claims victory as Microsoft will split Teams from Office

The move comes as the software giant faces more antitrust charges following Slack’s complaint to the EU in 2020.

Slack claims victory as Microsoft will split Teams from Office
[Source photo: FC]

Facing antitrust concerns, Microsoft announced plans to sell its chat app Microsoft Teams separately from Microsoft Office, a victory for rival chat app Slack, which has complained that selling the two programs together constitutes an “illegal” practice by the company, Reuters reported Monday.

Teams was added to Office 365 in 2017 for free, replacing Skype for Business within the program. That timing proved beneficial for the company and led to the program rising in popularity during the pandemic, when many offices became remote.

The European Union has been investigating the company’s decision to tie together Office and Teams for several years following a complaint from Slack in 2020 that claimed that bundling the products together gave Microsoft an unfair advantage. At the time, Slack complained that “Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers.”

The decision to sell the two programs separately comes six months after the company opted to unbundle the two programs in the EU and Switzerland on October 1 of the past year. Reuters notes that the change might not be enough to help the company dodge EU antitrust changes, which are expected to be sent to the company in the coming months.

Microsoft has been hit with 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in EU antitrust fines in the past decade for tying or bundling two or more products together. It could potentially be subject to fines equaling 10% of its global annual turnover.

As part of the change, Microsoft is introducing a new lineup of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites that do not include Teams, as well as a new stand-alone that Teams is offering. Starting today, existing customers can opt to continue with their existing licensing deal, or update to switch to the new offerings.

Prices for Office without Teams range from $7.75 to $54.75 depending on the product, while Teams as a stand-alone app will cost $5.25.

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