October 17, 2021

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Microsoft launching Microsoft 365, Teams for consumers

  • Microsoft is launching a consumer friendly version of its Microsoft 365 bundle of productivity and collaboration tools.
  • It includes a consumer version of its Teams app and a new security app, alongside Microsoft’s flagship productivity tools: Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • The Teams app for consumers represents Microsoft’s bid to try and capture an increasingly growing market for personal video calls and chats, as the coronavirus crisis forces people to stay indoors and isolated.
  • It will be going up against Zoom, which has become a household name as the way that many people are staying in touch with friends and family, doing business, and attending classes.
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Microsoft is launching a consumer friendly version of its Microsoft 365 bundle of productivity and collaboration tools.

This new version of Microsoft 365 includes updated versions of its Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel cloud-based apps, alongside a consumer version of its workplace chat app, Teams — plus a new security app that lets parents track their kids media consumption and location across smartphones and devices.

In the workplace, Microsoft dominates the market for productivity tools, and its workplace chat app is the single largest rival to relative upstart Slack. But as the coronavirus crisis forces people to stay home, people are increasingly using videoconferencing to stay in touch with people in their work and personal lives.

Right now, everyone’s using Zoom to do that. Now, it seems, Microsoft wants a piece of that pie.

Teams now has 44 million daily active users in the workplace, the company said earlier this month, seeing a big boost in usage as companies transition to work from home amid the coronavirus. The app has replaced Skype for Business for many users, and combines both chat and video-calling. 

But it hasn’t seen the same success with non-business users that Zoom has enjoyed: While Microsoft does offer a free version of Teams, it generally pushes consumers towards the more mainstream Skype if they want to make video calls with friends and relatives. 

While Microsoft says Skype isn’t going anywhere, at least for now, this new consumer-oriented version of Teams is going to be the new focus. If people have a corporate Teams account for their company and a personal Teams account, they’ll be able to switch between profiles in one app. 

The Teams app for consumers will be available in preview mode for smartphones in a few months and then will roll out to all users, and the same with the new security application. The updated versions of the new productivity apps will be available starting Monday. 

Users will be able to get it with a Microsoft 365 personal and family subscription plan, and it will automatically roll out to anyone who already has a personal or family Office 365 subscription. 

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