Microsoft reportedly won't bundle Teams with Office in the future
Microsoft won't bundle Microsoft Teams with Office in the future anymore, according to a report by the Financial Times (behind a paywall). The European Union has threatened a formal antitrust investigation into the bundling of Microsoft Teams with Microsoft Office.
Microsoft Teams competitor Slack complained to the European Union in 2020 about the bundling of the tool with Microsoft's widely used Office application suite.
Office customers who install Microsoft Office on their devices had Microsoft Teams installed alongside Microsoft Word, Excel and other common Office applications that come bundled with it.
The Financial Times received information from two unnamed sources. According to the information, Microsoft is in talks with regulators from the European Union to find a solution. While a deal appears to be uncertain at this point, the unbundling of Teams with Office is top priority.
Companies would be able to buy Microsoft Office without Microsoft Teams eventually, but the how has not been decided on yet. The talks may remind Windows users of Microsoft's previous clash with EU regulators.
More than a decade ago, Microsoft agreed to offer other web browsers to Windows users in the European Union. The company was fined €561 million in 2013 as it failed to provide this consistently.
This was not Microsoft's only anti-competitive ruling in the European Union. Microsoft was found to have violated European antitrust laws in 2004 by bundling Windows Media Player in Windows. This led to the creation of Windows N-Editions, which are sold in Europe up to this day. There is also a NK-Edition of Windows, which is sold in South Korea.
Microsoft could sell a special version of Microsoft Office in countries of the European Union that comes without Teams installed. The N-versions of Windows have not been particularly successful, and it is uncertain, whether special versions of Microsoft Office without Teams will be more successful.
Talks are ongoing at this point and there is a chance that both parties do not come to an agreement. The European Union might then go ahead and launch a formal investigation into the matter, which could lead to a fine and a binding decision to split Teams from Office.
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