Microsoft unbundles Groups software program in Europe to deal with EU antitrust issues

  • From October 1st of this yr, Microsoft will promote these packages with out groups at a lowered value totaling 24 euros per yr within the EEA (European Financial Space) and Switzerland.
  • European Union regulators launched an antitrust investigation in July into Microsoft’s bundling of Groups with different Workplace merchandise, citing anti-competitive issues.

The Microsoft Groups are displayed on a smartphone.

Sopa Footage | flare | Getty Pictures

US tech large Microsoft stated on Thursday it would unbundle its Groups chat and video conferencing service from its Microsoft 365 productiveness suite to deal with European Union antitrust issues.

From October 1st this yr, Microsoft will promote the packages with out Groups at a lowered value totaling 24 euros per yr within the EEA (European Financial Space) and Switzerland. Present prospects who already personal a set with Groups can select to stick with their present bundle or migrate to a product with out the video conferencing app.

The subscription-based Microsoft 365 bundle, previously often known as Workplace 365, beforehand hailed Groups because the crown jewel of its workplace-focused app choices, which embrace Phrase and Excel. Groups software program launched in 2017 and gained traction amongst customers because it facilitated textual content and video communication within the office in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Microsoft introduced in March that it deliberate to launch a brand new model of Groups that will be twice as quick because the earlier model.

European Union regulators launched an antitrust investigation in July into Microsoft’s bundling of Groups with different Workplace merchandise, citing anti-competitive issues.

The continuing investigation marked the primary EU antitrust probe into Microsoft in over a decade, with Slack, a Salesforce-owned Groups competitor, submitting a contest criticism with European regulators in 2020. Salesforce didn’t instantly reply to a request from CNBC for remark.

EU officers expressed issues that the Redmond-based tech titan “might give groups a gross sales benefit by not giving prospects the selection of whether or not or not they need to embrace entry to this product within the subscription of their productiveness suites, and probably interoperability.” has restricted between its productiveness suites and.” competing choices.

Microsoft pledged on Thursday to additionally enhance sources for interoperability with Microsoft 365 and Workplace 365. It additionally creates mechanisms for internet hosting Workplace net purposes in competing apps and providers.

“We respect the readability that emerged from in depth and constructive discussions with the European Fee on a number of issues. Due to this readability, we imagine it will be significant that we start to take significant steps to deal with these issues,” Nanna-Louise Linde, vp of Microsoft European Authorities Affairs, stated in a weblog publish on Thursday.

“We imagine that these modifications will align the pursuits of our rivals with these of European enterprise prospects and provides them entry to the very best options at aggressive costs,” she added, acknowledging that the EU investigation is at the moment at an early stage .

An EU spokesperson instructed CNBC: “We word Microsoft’s announcement. Now we have no additional remark.”

Microsoft is individually within the crosshairs of UK regulators, who’ve blocked their preliminary plans to accumulate video games firm Activision Blizzard over issues about stifling competitors within the nascent cloud gaming market. Microsoft final week introduced a brand new deal proposal for the takeover and made new concessions – which the UK Competitors and Markets Authority will now think about with a call deadline of October 18.

—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report


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