Microsoft is very excited about Microsoft Teams, their fastest-growing business app ever, even before the COVID-19 crisis, but according to Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, the app is just getting started.
“It’s a platform that transcends operating systems that will be even bigger than Windows,” Jeff Teper told Venturebeat.
This is because Teams is seeing application well beyond the 1 billion Daily Active Windows users.
“First line workers adopting Teams in health care, in retail, airlines, and so forth,” Teper said. “It actually gives us a much bigger addressable market than, say, the people who author Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents all day. So I think we’ll see strong growth, hundreds of millions of people using Teams.”
“Part of the reason we’re excited about Teams is that it can be used by people who are involved in business processes who may never have been traditional Office customers.”
Teper also envisions airlines using Teams to collaborate with maintenance crews and retail stores trying to automate workflows.
“We think about how many people in the world we can empower with our tools,” Teper said. “We are thinking about hundreds of millions and billions of people. Satya, when he came in as CEO, said ‘every person and organization on the planet’ because he wanted us all to think about our mission and opportunity and impact. We start from there. And then we do that by building a suite of tools, integrated in Teams for chat, for calling, for meetings, for files, etc.”
Teams has become more than an app – it is also increasingly a platform.
“Teams is a shell, a platform for building collaborative applications and integrating them in,” Teper said. “And creating enormous opportunity for partners to build solutions for customers and frankly make money investing in building their applications on Teams. We’ve had a 750% growth of apps inside Teams [over the last year]. Seeing solutions for health care, education, manufacturing being built on Teams is that thing that I think maybe not everybody appreciates that we’re trying to focus on now. Everything from the Power Apps support to Visual Studio support, how people deploy applications. That’s the big thing that is the game changer versus the alternatives in the industry out there. So we’re going to help organizations solve their specific problems, not just give them general purpose tools.”
Microsoft is also looking beyond the corporate world, noting that Zoom has mainly caught fire in the consumer space.
Microsoft is working on releasing Microsoft Teams for consumers on iOS and Android, and Teper said making the app better for consumers will make it better for business also.
“We are also recognizing, as we’ve done with Windows and OneDrive, that while the core product should be the same, we really should streamline it for those consumer scenarios,” Teper continued. “And by doing that, we’ll make it better for everybody. Part of the work we’re doing in the next few months as we get ready to start with Teams for consumers, first on mobile phones, is to streamline the experience. But I think if you’re doing any kind of structured activity that’s not an ad hoc conversation, Teams is going to be a better choice than an existing chat product or social network. We’re not trying to displace all that. We’re just saying there’s an unmet consumer need in these more complicated activities in your personal life where getting organized is useful, just like it is with OneDrive or Excel.”
Microsoft was not planning to stop innovating any time soon.
“We also have an effort called moonshots, which are sort of big, crazy, bolder things we’d like to do in Teams,” Teper said. “If even one out of five of those pay off, we’ll have some pretty amazing things in the next couple of years.”
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