Separation of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365: background and implications

3 min read
May 16, 2024

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform developed by Microsoft for businesses and organizations. It provides a wide range of team collaboration capabilities, including instant messaging, file sharing, online meetings, video calling, and more.

With Microsoft 365 integration, users can seamlessly access applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint and collaborate in Teams. It’s an all-in-one solution for teamwork that increases productivity and eases collaboration. But this all-in-one package was not without its critics. In 2020, allegations were made that Microsoft was gaining an unfair advantage. Following an investigation by the European Commission, Microsoft adjusted its licensing offer.

Microsoft Teams icon on a phone

Microsoft 365 environment without Microsoft Teams

Teams is typically part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, so it integrates seamlessly with other applications like Word, Outlook, or SharePoint. But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Back in 2020, web-based instant messaging service and direct competitor Slack filed a complaint with the EU Commission. The reason: Microsoft gains an unfair market advantage by offering the Teams app along with its Microsoft 365 software package.

The German company Alfaview also filed a complaint in December 2021. In its view, linking Teams to Microsoft 365 is anti-competitive. In fact, after several discussions with Microsoft, Alfaview withdrew from the negotiations. According to Alfaview, Microsoft “showed no serious interest in decoupling Teams from the 365 suite and offering the product at a price that reflects its true cost.”

The EU Commission has upheld the complaints. Tying Teams to the Microsoft 365 suite is illegal and gives the company an unfair competitive advantage. According to the EU Commission, tools like Teams are often indispensable today, which is why open competition must be ensured. Companies should be free to choose the tool that best suits their needs.

As a result, Microsoft had to decouple Teams in October 2023. But this regulation initially applied only in the EU and Switzerland. As of April 2024, the decoupling applies worldwide.

So far, the company has had to pay fines of €2.2 billion. It’s currently unclear whether further fines will follow.

It’s not expected that the number of users will decrease, as the application is too deeply embedded in the corporate context.

What's going to change for users?

A Teams subscription will be available worldwide without the Microsoft 365 suite starting in April 2024. The price for the package, called Microsoft Teams Essentials, is approximately the equivalent of €3.70 per month/user .

Which option is best for you and your business depends on several factors.

Benefits of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams offers many benefits to businesses and organizations:

  • Collaborate in one place: With Teams, users can collaborate in one central location, regardless of where team members are located. All communications, files, and tools are consolidated in one place.
  • Effective communication: Instant messaging, audio and video calling, and online meetings allow team members to communicate effectively regardless of location.
  • File sharing and collaboration: Teams makes it easy to collaborate on documents by enabling seamless file sharing and editing. Users can work on the same documents at the same time and see real-time updates.
  • Organization in channels: Teams can create multiple channels organized by project, department, or topic. This enables efficient communication and collaboration.
  • Extensibility through apps and integrations: Teams offers a variety of third-party integrations and apps that allow businesses to streamline and customize their workflows.
  • Security and compliance: Microsoft Teams offers comprehensive security features such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and compliance tools to protect user data and ensure regulatory compliance.

The empower® Teams App

Did you know that, with the empower® Teams app, you can extend the capabilities of Microsoft Teams? You’ll find all your PowerPoint presentations, slides, and templates right in Teams through the empower® Library. Open and edit your templates, create new presentations, or rename documents—all from your phone and on the go. All you need to do is enter your empower® credentials.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us.

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