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Microsoft to Offer Teams Separately from Office Suite Worldwide

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Microsoft has announced that it will sell its Teams online meeting service separately from its Office software suite worldwide, following a move made six months ago in Europe.

The decision comes after scrutiny from competition regulators, particularly the European Commission, following complaints from rivals about Microsoft’s combined marketing of Office and Teams.

Teams, initially introduced to Office 365 in 2017, gained popularity, especially during the pandemic, for its video conferencing features and collaboration capabilities. However, competitors, including Slack, which filed a complaint in 2020, argued that bundling Teams with Office gave Microsoft an unfair advantage in the market.

In response to these concerns, Microsoft began selling Teams and Office separately in the European Union and Switzerland last October. Now, it plans to extend this approach globally to provide clarity for customers and address feedback from regulators.

This move appears to be an attempt by Microsoft to pacify competition regulators amid increasing scrutiny of major technology companies. Similar concerns have been raised recently about Apple’s control over the iOS operating system.

While Microsoft’s decision to unbundle Teams from Office may not have as significant an impact as past antitrust cases, analysts suggest that Teams’ integration into workflows may mitigate any dramatic effects. Data from Sensor Tower indicates that even after the separation of Office and Teams in the EU, the use of Teams remained relatively stable.

Overall, Microsoft’s decision reflects ongoing efforts by tech giants to navigate regulatory concerns while maintaining market dominance in their respective sectors.

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