Microsoft Planning for Teams to Become Ubiquitous Platform

Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jeff Teper wants Microsoft Teams — the company’s fastest growing business app — to overtake Windows, currently on 1+ billion active devices. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams is experiencing significant growth, with 75 million daily active users as of April 29, a 70 percent leap in six weeks. In April, 200+ million participants used Teams in a single day. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still promoting Skype, which in March passed 40 million daily active users (up 70 percent from the previous year), but for a different customer base.

VentureBeat reports that Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said, “the company had 258 million paid seats of Office 365, which includes access to Teams.” Teper declared himself “very bullish on us getting more Office 365 users to use Teams,” and also mentioned that many healthcare, retail, airline first line workers are also adopting Teams.

Zoom currently has 300 million daily meeting participants and Google Meet has 100 million, putting Teams in the middle. Slack has 12 million daily active users and Facebook’s Workplace has 3 million.

Teper pointed out that, “there are a billion people using Windows and Office, so clearly there is a billion people who should be using our cloud services, mobile applications, and desktop applications.” “We bring together a suite of tools that nobody else does,” he said, “And each of those tools needs to be best of breed and be chosen and loved by customers in that category.”

That advantage, he added, gives Microsoft a “clear leadership position,” although he admitted that “it’s a bit of a dogfight” for the areas where Teams has more competition. In the future, Teper hopes that Teams becomes an ubiquitous platform, with “Teams-based applications that run on iOS, Android, the web, the Mac, as well as Windows.”

Elsewhere, VB reports that, “Microsoft has now confirmed plans to invest in Skype — including adding new features — regardless of its plans with Teams.” In March, Skype calling minutes were up 220 percent. Microsoft also noted that, while it is coming up with Teams for consumers, users could rely on Skype for personal life “in the meantime.”

For many, that suggested that Microsoft planned to pull the plug on Skype, but, Teper insists that the company will continue to invest in Skype, with new features and interoperability with Teams. “I think people will pick Teams,” he said. “But we’re not going to be heavy-handed about this.” Teper noted that Facebook has multiple tools — Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp — all of which continue to grow.

“Teams has a very different flavor to it than Skype,” he said. “It does overlap in the same need, just like Messenger and WhatsApp do from Facebook. And so we’ll have them interoperate, but we’re going to continue to show love to the Skype customer base.”

With regard to Yammer, “Microsoft’s enterprise social network for private communication within organizations,” Teper said that although Yammer is integrated into Teams, enterprises can use Yammer without Teams. Teper said that Teams and Yammer serve different use cases and that Yammer is an enterprise product that will never be brought to consumers.

Facebook’s Workplace, Now With 5M Paying Users, Adds Drop-In Video Rooms and More, TechCrunch, 5/21/20