Will Microsoft Start Un-bundling M365 Licenses?

According to the Register, Microsoft is already getting some heat from the EU antitrust regulators about bunding Teams with Office 365. Slack and other tools have filed complaints about Microsoft using their semi-monopoly on desktop business applications to push Teams use. Which is, of course, true. How many companies use Teams because they needed something when the pandemic hit and as M365 customers they already owned Teams?

Based on my own experience, that number is quite high.

It also got me thinking in broader terms about Microsoft Enterprise licensing. For every company I’ve heard talk about rolling out Teams because “we already own it”, I’ve heard just as many looking at Purview and other Microsoft tools because they “already own it.” There is some difference here, obviously. This wouldn’t apply to every business customer who uses Office, but there are a lot of business customers with an e5 or e3 license in place to assist them with managing that M365 environment who find themselves with tools for issuing litigation holds, collecting eDiscovery (or reviewing eDiscovery with e5), implement retention policies, and implement security and database tools that duplicate features that they are paying other companies to provide.

Much like Teams, these M365 Purview tools are not exact duplicates of other tools on the market. Some things they do well, others not as much, and there might even be a gap in the features between the current tool and the one available in Purview, but the question always is how close does it need to get to make “free” the better option? That’s the question I’ve seen quite a few organizations asking. And that’s what this news about Teams made me think about.

If Teams bundled with Office is anti-competitive, what other tools available in M365 could likewise be considered anti-competitive?

We await the results of the EU investigation.

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