Microsoft Teams is about to become optional for Office users

A video conference screenshot showing the Microsoft Teams avatars, now in public preview.
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Following the stink raised by competing collaboration tool Slack to the European Union in 2020, Microsoft has agreed to stop automatically bundling Teams with its office software.

Per the Financial Times (paywall), the move is an attempt to escape what would be the company’s first antitrust investigation in over a decade.

However, Slack, now owned by CRM software provider Salesforce, is pushing for even further action, and a ruling that Microsoft Teams and Office must be sold separately.

Microsoft vs the EU

Collaboration and video conferencing software has become a persistently lucrative business since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. While names such as Teams, Slack and Zoom were around for some time before, it’s only now that they’ve arguably become household names.

It’s not surprising then that Slack feels like it’s missing its share of the pie, but this already protracted legal battle with the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission (EC), is set to continue, with a statement from Microsoft sent to the FT claiming that talks are still in progress.

“We are mindful of our responsibilities in the EU as a major technology company,” said a representative for the tech giant. “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.”

Microsoft has seen trouble like this before when, in 2008, it bundled its Internet Explorer browser with Windows. Under scrutiny, it began offering a choice of browsers to users, but was fined €561 million by the EU for going back on its word. So, history may just be about to repeat itself.

Via The Verge

Luke Hughes
Staff Writer

 Luke Hughes holds the role of Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.