Microsoft Teams is on its way to becoming a digital platform as significant as the internet browser or a computer operating system, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
In an interview with the FT newspaper, Nadella spoke of Teams as a new “organising layer”, pulling together all the tools a worker needs into a single place, as well as acting as a platform for other developers to deliver the own services. This would mean workers accessing Office applications and lightweight third-party applications through Teams.
While the world of work had not seen anything like this to date, WeChat in China had a similar function for consumers, Nadella said.
Analysts quoted by the newspaper said Microsoft wanted to create “the captive portal through which you experience everything else”, and “this was the original promise of Windows – we’ve gone full circle”.
Teams was originally developed as a chat-focused competitor to Slack which was recently sold for $27 billion to Salesforce. Now it has Zoom in its sights and is following a familiar path of offering Teams as a free add-on to the widely used Office applications, making it a natural choice for organisations where they are already installed.
Looking beyond the pandemic, Nadella said employee demand for flexibility about where and when they worked would require “synchronous and asynchronous” software tools in a single package, including real-time meetings with collaboration and messaging tools.
Microsoft is also looking beyond the office to workers in retail and healthcare who do not currently use Microsoft Office but who perform functions that could be tied into work processes inside their organisations through Teams.
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