Microsoft is allowing European customers to buy its Teams business communication platform without shelling out for a bundle that includes the rest of the Microsoft Office suite.
Why won't US customers get the same benefit? Well, it's happening in the wake of an EU antitrust probe, and there isn't a US counterpart forcing Microsoft's hand.
The change will go live starting on the first day of October this year, and any Microsoft customer based in the EU will be able to take advantage in a few different ways.
How Can Customers Save Money (Aside From Being European)?
Once the unbundling option is available to the public across the EU, enterprise users will be able to buy Teams all by itself for €5 (that's about $5.4) per month.
Meanwhile, the EU enterprise customers who were already paying for everything will now have the option to drop €2 or about $2.2 per month off of the price tag for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 — as long as they chose to drop access to Teams.
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Small businesses and “frontline workers” in the EU will also be able to get similarly unbundled deals, although no exact prices have been revealed.
In a blog post announcing the unbundling, the tech giant's vice-president for European government affairs, Nanna-Louise Linde, explained the reasoning behind the change, saying “We believe these changes balance the interests of our competitors with those of European business customers, providing them with access to the best possible solutions at competitive prices.”
Competitors Like Zoom and Slack Now Have an Opportunity
The real winners here are the competitors that Microsoft seems to have been trying to shut out from its software suite: Zoom, Slack, and other huge communications platforms often used by businesses.
Customers can now easily keep using other Microsoft products while skipping Teams in favor of their favorite video or chat communication service.
The EU investigation was actually triggered by Slack, in fact, since that company was the first to allege, back in 2020, that Microsoft had illegally restricted Teams by packaging it up with the rest of its business software.
Which Web Conferencing Tool Is Actually the Best?
But we've got more guides for the discerning customer, as well: Check out the Best Video Conferencing Equipment for a look at the hardware setups that can power video or audio meetings, or dip a toe in the options available for the Best Conference Call Services.
We analyze options like Zoho Meeting, GoTo Meeting, and Webex alongside trusted names like Zoom — all to track down the best pros, the worst cons, and the most accurate prices to expect.