Enlarge / Teams is being disconnected from the other Office applications worldwide, six months after Microsoft did the same for the EU.

Microsoft/Andrew Cunningham

After separating the applications in the European Union, Microsoft is now implementing the global breakup of Office and Teams. Reuters reports that Microsoft will introduce Teams and the rest of the Microsoft 365 applications as individual products with separate pricing for new commercial customers starting today.

“In order to provide clarity for our customers, we are expanding the actions taken last year to unlink Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland to customers worldwide,” stated a Microsoft representative to Ars. “This also resolves concerns raised by the European Commission by giving multinational organizations more flexibility when looking to standardize their procurement globally.”

This unbundling is advantageous for alternative team communication applications like Slack and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, both of which existed prior to Teams but did not have the advantage of the large established user base of Office applications.

This separation comes after an EU regulatory inquiry that commenced in July of 2023, nearly three years after Slack initially lodged a complaint alleging that Microsoft was “exploiting its dominant market position to eliminate competition in violation of European Union competition regulations.”

In August of 2023, Microsoft announced the unbundling of applications in the EU and Switzerland set for October. Bloomberg reported in September that Zoom had discussions with both EU and US Federal Trade Commission regulators regarding Microsoft, further increasing regulatory pressure on Microsoft.

In October, Nanna-Louise Linde, Microsoft’s European Government Affairs VP, explained the unbundling and other initiatives as “proactive changes aimed at addressing these concerns in a significant manner,” as the EU investigation continues, and the company potentially faces penalties. Linde also mentioned that Microsoft would enable greater integration of third-party applications like Zoom and Slack with the Office applications and would “empower third-party solutions to host Office web applications.”

Microsoft has published a blog post outlining its new pricing structure here—currently, the adjustments impact only the Microsoft 365 plans for Business, Enterprise, and Frontline versions of Microsoft 365. Consumer, Academic, US Government, and Nonprofit editions of Microsoft 365 remain unchanged for now and will still bundle Teams as they did previously.

Existing Office/Microsoft 365 Enterprise customers who wish to continue using the Office applications and Teams together can retain both subscriptions at their current rates. New subscribers to the Enterprise editions of Microsoft 365/Office 365 can opt for either a standalone Teams purchase for $5.25 per user per month or add Teams to an existing Teams-free Office/Microsoft 365 subscription.

For the Business and Frontline Microsoft 365 versions, users can choose to purchase the version with Teams included at the prior pricing or select a new option without Teams, reducing costs by a few dollars per user per month. For instance, the Teams-excluded Microsoft 365 Business Standard is priced at $10.25 per user per month, compared to $12.50 for the version with Teams included.

Updated April 1, 2024, at 4:12 pm to incorporate additional details about pricing and a link to Microsoft’s official blog post on the announcement; also included a statement from a Microsoft representative.