It would appear that the possibility of an investigation by the European Union has resulted in Microsoft discontinuing the practice of packaging its Teams collaboration application with the Office productivity software.
According to a report initially published in the Financial Times, businesses that purchase Office can buy it with or without Teams.
“As a major technology company, we know the responsibilities of operating in the EU.”
“We continue to engage cooperatively with the commission in its investigation and are open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well,” a representative for Microsoft was cited as saying by the Financial Times.
The European Union and Microsoft have a long history of engaging in court battles over Microsoft’s anticompetitive business practices.
The European Commission determined that the IT giant’s bundling and linking of apps violated antitrust laws, which resulted in the company being hit with fines totalling billions of dollars over several years.
Slack, owned by Salesforce at the time, filed a complaint with the anti-trust officials of the Commission in 2021, arguing that the fact that Microsoft included Teams with Office provided Slack with an unfair competitive advantage.
Teams is a programme that was released by Microsoft in 2017 to cater to business users and integrate with their other offerings.
Reuters reported in December of the previous year that Microsoft had made concessions to address the Commission’s competition concerns to stave off a formal enquiry that might have resulted in another possibly significant fine. This move was made to stave off a formal investigation that could have resulted in another potentially hefty fine.