Microsoft Expands Teams for Personal Use

The software giant is positioning Teams as "the more than chat app" and it may one day take on Messenger and WhatsApp.

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Need to Know

  • The rollout will bring Teams from the workspace to users’ personal lives, letting them chat with friends, family members, and more.
  • Microsoft says the update is meant to offer a “central hub” for coordinating personal and social tasks and activities.
  • The update will be launched initially as a preview for iOS and Android.
  • The initiative is part of Microsoft’s ongoing “Modern Life” initiative, a suite of services that appeal to “professional consumers” and help them to be more productive and communicate with easier methods.

Analysis

Microsoft is continuing to expand its offerings to appeal more strongly to its consumer base, today revealing that its Teams platform will be rolled out for personal use.

Teams, which is a communication and coordination platform widely used by businesses and enterprise, is being positioned as a central hub for organizing tasks and group social activities, according to a post on Microsoft’s website.

The consumer-facing version of Teams, which is initially being rolled out on iOS and Android, combines its capacity as a text- and video-chat platform with its ability to store lists, documents, and calendars within individual or group dashboards; Teams integrates the Microsoft 365 suite of apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Users can also enable location sharing, and have access to Teams’ Safe, which is where sensitive information such as passwords can be stored and protected with two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption.

While Microsoft says the expansion of Teams for personal use is not meant to compete directly with other chat apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp, the expansion of Teams’ features to include more individual, consumer-facing features does certainly position Teams as an alternative to these apps.

Liat Ben-Zur, an executive at Microsoft working on the Teams expansion, says the new features are meant to help consumers see Teams as “the more than chat app, the more than video app.” This lines up directly with Microsoft’s Modern Life initiative which is a series of product launches geared towards helping professional consumers become more communicative.

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