September 30, 2023

Microsoft, which is at present going through an investigation from the European Fee relating to its bundling of Groups with its Microsoft 365/Workplace 365 business plans, determined to behave proactively at present. The corporate will change the way it licenses Microsoft 365, Workplace 365, and Groups in Europe and Switzerland and supply new plans that don’t embody Groups.

We’ve recognized about these Groups unbundling plans for a few months now, however it began with Slack submitting an antitrust criticism towards Microsoft earlier than the European Fee three years in the past. Slack beforehand described Microsoft Groups as “weak copycat product” that solely turned profitable as a result of Microsoft “tied it to their dominant Workplace product, pressure putting in it and blocking its elimination.”

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Effectively, quick ahead to 2023, Microsoft is able to make some modifications to deal with the issues from the European Fee. “We acknowledge our accountability as a significant expertise supplier to assist a wholesome aggressive atmosphere. We respect the readability that has emerged on a number of of the issues from in depth and constructive discussions with the European Fee,” stated Nanna-Louise Linde, Vice President, Microsoft European Authorities Affairs.

Effectively, for now, Microsoft is barely prepared to unbundle Groups from its Microsoft 365/Workplace 365 business plans in Europe… however you must begin someplace, proper? So, beginning October 1, 2023, Microsoft will begin promoting its Microsoft 365 and Workplace 365 business subscriptions with out Groups, permitting prospects to save lots of €2 monthly or €24 per yr. Groups will stay obtainable as a standalone subscription at €5/month or €60/yr.

Microsoft’s core enterprise prospects in Europe preferring to maintain their current plans with Groups included might be in a position to take action after October 1. For small companies and frontline staff, nonetheless, Microsoft will supply Microsoft 365/Workplace 365 plans with or with out Groups. Once more, the brand new plans with out Groups might be barely cheaper. Yow will discover extra pricing particulars for all these new EU-specific plans on this FAQ.

Lastly, Microsoft made two different Groups-related bulletins to appease EU regulators: The corporate will supply improved documentation for builders desirous about integrating their apps with Groups. Furthermore, Microsoft will make it simple for third-party apps to offer entry to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem through Microsoft’s Workplace net apps.

“We imagine these modifications steadiness the pursuits of our rivals with these of European enterprise prospects, offering them with entry to the absolute best options at aggressive costs,” the VP of Microsoft European Authorities Affairs stated at present. Nevertheless, the investigation of the EU Fee remains to be ongoing and it stays to be seen if Microsoft might want to make extra concessions.