Microsoft held an event today announcing a number of changes and upcoming launches. Two of the major pieces of news include a consumer version its communication and collaboration software “Teams” coming this year and its Office 365 suite rebranded as “Microsoft 365” plans.
Microsoft Teams for consumers
As the competition between Slack and the major tech giants heats up, Microsoft Teams has become a popular choice for communication and collaboration in the enterprise. Now the service that brings together Microsoft’s widely used apps, chat, video calling and more will be arriving in a new consumer version that will land sometime later this year (via TechCrunch).
The app will allow users to easily move between personal and work accounts and let families connect with calendars, photos, to-dos, chat, and video.
Just like you can switch between work and personal accounts in Outlook, you will soon be able to do the same in Teams. The personal teams view will look a little bit different, with shared calendars for the family, access to OneDrive vaults, photo sharing, etc., but it sits on the same codebase as the business version. You’ll also be able to do video calls and shared to-do lists.
Even though Teams will land for the masses, it won’t be replacing Skype. Here’s how Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Modern Life, Search and Devices sees Teams and Skype as different products:
“Skype continues,” he said when I asked him about the future of that service. “We remain committed to Skype. Skype today is used by a hundred million people on a monthly basis. The way I think about it is that Skype is a great solution today for personal use. A lot of broadcast companies use it as well. Teams is really the more robust offering, as you will, where in addition to doing video and chat calling, we also bring in rich communications and templates […], we have things like dashboard and it also helps you pull in a richer set of tools.”
Microsoft 365 plans
As for Office 365, it will be rebranded as Microsoft 365 for personal and family plans next month. Pricing stays the same at $7 or $10/month, respectively and will officially debut on April 21st.
TechCrunch got a quote from Microsoft on the change:
“We are basically evolving our subscription from — in our minds — a set of tools to solutions that help you manage across your work and life,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s CVP of Modern Life, Search and Devices, told me ahead of today’s announcement.
Further changes for Microsofts apps and services will include improved writing through AI with Microsoft Word online, the ability to link bank accounts in Microsoft Excel, a presentation coach for PowerPoint, and improved functionality for Outlook on the web like integrating personal and work accounts.
In related news, Microsoft launched its unified Office suite for iPhone last month bringing together Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote in a single app.
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