Microsoft has great ambitions for Microsoft Teams, saying they saw it as a new “organising layer” for companies and workers, with collaboration tools, video meetings, chat and other business applications, all reached through a single user interface.

Speaking to FT, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella compared it to the Chinese chat app WeChat, often called the internet for the mobile-only generation.

“In China, WeChat is the internet, that’s a great example,” Mr Nadella said. “There isn’t a western equivalent. If anything, Teams is probably the closest when it comes to the work area.”

Microsoft “wants the captive portal through which you experience everything else,” said Jim Gaynor, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm. “They have tried this repeatedly. Teams is the closest they’ve come to it sticking.”

Microsoft wanted to turn Teams into a portal into Microsoft Office, and also turn it into a platform, like Windows, for developers. Microsoft hopes that, as a result, companies will re-orientate their workflow around the app.

Microsoft also hoped to expand from knowledge workers to front-line workers. It could also open up new opportunities “way beyond the traditional market for knowledge workers, which has been our history,” Nadella said.

Microsoft denied that they are trying to build a closed platform, as Zoom and Slack accused them off.  Microsoft may face anti-trust action related to that accusation in USA and Europe.

He said competitors were free to integrate their services with Microsoft’s own, and that Slack and Zoom have been free to take advantage of the ultimate open platform, Windows.

“I think they should probably look at themselves in the mirror before they shoot their mouth off,” Nadella said.

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