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You Might Not Be Using Microsoft Teams Much Longer

Phone showing meeting apps, Microsoft Teams

The better headline here is Teams and Office 365 are breaking up but someone already used it.

Perhaps you’ve heard Microsoft has been getting hounded by the Europeans about possible antitrust violations in recent years, old hat to the company that was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission in the 90s for their stranglehold on the burgeoning home PC market and in court fighting the Department of Justice back in 2001 for trying to force us all to use Internet Explorer. To get the jump on any possible fines in Europe, Microsoft first separated Teams and 365 in the EU and now announced on April 1 they will no longer bundle Teams in with Office 365 across the globe.

Reuters was first with the story:

The European Commission has been investigating Microsoft’s tying of Office and Teams since a 2020 complaint by Salesforce-owned, competing workspace messaging app Slack.

Teams, which was added to Office 365 in 2017 for free, subsequently replaced Skype for Business and became popular during the pandemic due in part to its video conferencing.

Rivals, however, said packaging the products together gives Microsoft an unfair advantage. The company started selling the two products separately in the EU and Switzerland on Oct. 1 last year.

Microsoft called it “realigning global licensing for Microsoft 365” in their announcement. This realignment means existing commercial customers can choose Teams-free suites when their agreements are up for renewal or continue to use it with the rest of the bundle as they have been. 365 with Teams will no longer be offered to new customers. The change applies only to commercial suites — Enterprise, Business, and Frontline — while consumer, academic, US government, and nonprofit-specific SKUs are not impacted currently. Putting that “currently” in there because that’s the word Microsoft used in their announcement.

“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 Microsoft spokesperson said to Reuters. “Doing so also addresses feedback from the European Commission by providing multinational companies more flexibility when they want to standardise their purchasing across geographies.”

We’ll go ahead and assume any firms currently using 365 with Teams will continue to do so because accountants deplore change.