Microsoft falls behind in offering full-featured Guest Access with Microsoft Teams

After months of waiting, in September Microsoft is finally added support for guest access to Microsoft Teams.  With support for guest access on Microsoft Teams, companies were now able to invite users outside of their organization without any hassle. These guests are able to join meetings, take calls and collaborate on documents shared within a team.

Unfortunately, there was a big catch, as guest access on Microsoft Teams required an Azure Active Directory account. Microsoft said they were working on bringing support for the regular Microsoft Accounts later on, which would cast a much wider net of potential users and allow one to invite nearly anyone to a Teams session.  Then a Microsoft spokesman said support for an MSA was expected “in the next few weeks.”

It seems things are not quite going according to plan, however.  A few days ago Microsoft Teams Program Manager Suphatra Rufo tweeted that “Guest Access MSA should be here in a few months.”

Microsoft confirmed this officially to Mary Jo Foley, saying Guest Access for Teams will arrive only sometime in 2018, saying in an official statement:

“Microsoft is working on guest access for MSA, but doesn’t have details to share on timing.”

Suphatra Rufo confirmed via Twitter that  it “…is is our top priority! It is just a very difficult feature for us to implement as it requires work from multiple engineering groups across the company. We are working hard at it and really appreciate your patience!”

With guest accounts as part of Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Teams users are able to easily manage these accounts and get enterprise-grade security manageable from Office 365 itself, so IT Pros will be able to revoke or modify access for guests whenever they want.  It seems bringing that enterprise-level security and features to regular Microsoft accounts is more difficult than anticipated.

It is, however, something Microsoft’s main competitor, Slack, has managed to achieve, and something many organizations demand before they can replace Slack with Teams.