Messaging apps are more popular than ever, whether it be text or video. With the likes of WhatsApp, Google Meet, and Zoom only continuing to grow in popularity, Microsoft Teams has arguably become one of the biggest players in this space when it comes to features and capabilities (although Google is quickly growing in that department). The biggest problem with Teams, however, is that it is primarily designed for business, with its security tightly integrated into corporate systems. As such, the only way to traditionally use it was through a corporate log-in account.
In an effort to make Teams more open to the individual user market, Microsoft will be updating its Teams apps to allow for personal login accounts as well. Rather than rebrand it as a new app though, Microsoft wants to keep the Teams name and is aiming for the new app to allow people who want to use it in a way that integrates with your email, calendar and allows you to share tasks, lists and documents more easily,
Microsoft executive Liat Ben-Zur, has described the new initiative to The Verge as a way of introducing Teams rich set of features to individuals and smaller groups:
I think if all you want to do is just have a chat with someone, there are plenty of great standalone chat apps. Teams is now being designed for people who find themselves coordinating lots of group type events. Everything from busy moms … to people who head up Girl Scout troops, fantasy football leagues, people who are doing book clubs, people running social advocacy groups. People who are constantly finding themselves in groups trying to coordinate various things in groups.
The new updates will allow users to quickly switch within the apps from a work setup to a home account and use the personal version alongside other Office programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft is also building a Safe feature into Teams for personal use, which will allow groups to store and share information like a home Wi-Fi password or Netflix account information directly within the Teams app using two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption. It’s similar to the OneDrive Personal Vault feature. The company hasn’t provided any details on pricing and whether it will be free with limited features or only for people with personal Office365 accounts.
What is interesting is that in opening up Teams to more people, users will essentially no longer have a need for Skype, Microsoft’s other big messaging and video calling app. Microsoft hasn’t officially made any announcements about the future of Skype though it wouldn’t surprise me if they start to sunset this in the near future.
Last Updated: June 24, 2020