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Microsoft Teams and Office 365 are breaking up

Microsoft office teams breakupImage: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams, a corporate messaging and video meeting service, will no longer be included with Microsoft Office. The software break-up comes as a result of antitrust investigation in Europe, where Teams and Office 365 have been de-bundled since October of last year. The software separation is global as of today.

Reuters reports that Microsoft is making the European-style offering standard across the world. “To ensure clarity for our customers, we are extending the steps we took last year to unbundle Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland to customers globally,” a spokesperson told the news service. While the bundled version of Teams and Office is still available worldwide, customers can choose to switch to a separate Teams-only subscription, an Office package that does not include Teams, or continue with their current package.

European regulators taking issue with bundling products is nothing new for Microsoft, or indeed, for any large tech company. The European Commission’s latest investigation follows a complaint by Slack, a competing office chat service owned by Salesforce.

But Microsoft’s beef with EU regulators goes all the way back to 1998, when a six-year Windows investigation ended in 2004 with a $613 million fine. Further investigations and subsequent fines followed in 2008 and 2013, totaling more than a billion dollars in fines, so it’s no wonder that the company is eager to head off the latest one at the pass. Observers say that even this move may not mollify the European Commission.

The news might cause headaches for corporations that are actively using Teams as their primary employee communication program, or possibly make alternatives like Slack more attractive with cheaper Office options. But most home users are unlikely to notice a difference. The free version of Microsoft Teams, which offers unlimited one-on-one video calls and group meetings for up to 60 minutes, isn’t going anywhere.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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