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Microsoft To Remove Teams From Office Suite As Antitrust Scrutiny Continues

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Microsoft announced plans to separate its Teams app from the Office suite globally, expanding a strategy initially adopted in Europe to avoid EU antitrust fines. 

This comes as the European Commission investigates complaints from Slack (owned by Salesforce) about Microsoft's practice of bundling Office with Teams. 

Teams, introduced into Office 365 in 2017 and replacing Skype for Business, gained significant traction during the pandemic for its video conferencing features.

Critics argue that this bundling strategy unfairly benefits Microsoft by leveraging its Office suite's dominance. 

In response to these concerns and to offer more flexibility to multinational companies, Microsoft started offering Teams and Office as separate products in the EU and Switzerland last August.

Microsoft aims to clarify and address the European Commission's feedback by extending these unbundling measures worldwide. 

The company will introduce a new range of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites without Teams for regions outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. 

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A standalone Teams option for Enterprise customers in these areas will also be available starting April 1. 

Prices for the Office suite without Teams will vary, ranging from $7.75 to $54.75, while Teams as a standalone product will be priced at $5.25, with specific costs depending on the country and currency.

Despite these changes, Microsoft may still face EU antitrust charges as rivals express concerns over pricing and the compatibility of their messaging services with Office Web Applications. 

With a history of accumulating €2.2 billion in EU fines over the past decade for similar practices, Microsoft could risk up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover for antitrust violations.

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