New pricing also in Switzerland
After the European Commission expressed concerns in connection with the combination of Microsoft Teams with the two products Microsoft 365 and Office 365 for business customers, the technology provider has now taken action and plans to separate Teams from the two Microsoft Suites in the EU and also Switzerland from October 1, 2023.
In addition, the launch of the new offering is also expected to be accompanied by an improvement in interoperability to facilitate the integration of third-party providers such as Salesforce or Zoom. Microsoft posted these changes on its blog on August 31, 2023. (Click here for the original English post with the details)
What will change for business customers in the EU and Switzerland?
- Microsoft 365 and Office 365 will be offered without Teams and at a reduced price starting in October.
- Teams will be available separately.
- Enterprise customers already subscribed to Microsoft 365 and/or Office 365 can either stay with their current product or switch to a new offering without Teams.
Prices within the European Union will be around €6 per month, or €72 per year. The prices for Switzerland are not yet known but will be based on the prices in the EU.
What is the reason for these adjustments?
The European Commission raised two concerns about the two Microsoft suites:
- Business customers should not be forced to buy a business suite including Teams but should have the option to choose the same suite at a lower price, but without Teams.
- The lack of interoperability between competitor communication and collaboration solutions and the 365 suites was also criticized. Microsoft should facilitate the integration of such competitor solutions.
Microsoft's point of view and the history of Teams
Microsoft takes the European Commission's criticisms seriously and is proactively introducing the changes. On the one hand, this demonstrates its great commitment to the European market. On the other hand, the integration of third-party communications software into its own business suites is not unknown territory for Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft has always been open to integrating third-party solutions into its own developments. The history of Microsoft Teams, for example, is closely linked to the integration and development of various existing and new software components:
In 2007, Microsoft acquires «Tellme Networks» and develops the so-called «Office Communications Server (OCS)». Shortly thereafter, Microsoft buys the company Parlano and with it also the software «MindAlign», which played a decisive role in the development of the chat functions of Microsoft Teams and contributed to making Teams a comprehensive platform for team collaboration. The unified communications platform Lync, which was developed by Microsoft in the further course of its history and published in 2010, also only became Skype for Business through the integration of the purchased Skype platform. Over the years, Microsoft developed numerous other functions and integrations and integrated them into Microsoft Teams, including for example SharePoint, OneDrive or Power BI, to name just a few.
The leading technology provider is therefore well aware that healthy competition stimulates the market and moves it forward and knows how to exploit the advantages of software integration for itself.
It is therefore not surprising that Microsoft will also provide new support resources to make it easier for developers to set up interoperability with the 365 suites. Also in the pipeline is the development of mechanisms to enable hosting of Office web applications by third-party solutions.
Does this address the concerns?
Microsoft emphasizes in their announcement that the planned changes will not necessarily eliminate all concerns of the EU Commission. However, the company is always open to further impetus and feedback and continuously strives to find solutions that also meet the demands of the European market and bring positive effects for both customers and developers.
As a certified Microsoft partner and qualified provider of managed services in Switzerland, we offer our customers support and services with all Microsoft solutions. Therefore, it is also important to us to inform them promptly about any changes in technology providers.
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