Microsoft has unveiled the much-awaited Windows 11 operating system which is set to roll out for consumers later this year. Among the bunch of new features and functionality, there is one trade that stands out. Or at least it should. Microsoft Teams has replaced Skype as the preferred integration for a communication platform in Windows 10. That means after many years of diligent service, Skype is finally being overshadowed by its newer, and shinier sibling. In the preview of Windows 11, Microsoft spent a considerable amount of time eschewing the benefits of quick access to Teams from within the taskbar on the Windows 11 desktop. This should give Teams a massive boost in the battle against the likes of Zoom and Google Meet. Microsoft Teams is a versatile communication platform for text messages as well as voice and video calls.
By default, the Microsoft Teams icon will be placed in the new center aligned taskbar, and assuming you’ll be setting up and signing up Windows 11 with your Microsoft account, you’ll immediately have access to your contacts and chats on Teams. Microsoft Teams has workplace as well as personal accounts options, which means your work chats and catching up with friends and family can now be easier. Apart from improving access and therefore hopefully increasing adoption, Microsoft would hope this would give Teams a further boost as it battles rival video conferencing and messaging platforms in these times when virtual catchups and digital communication is the need of the hour. It was in April when Microsoft had said that Teams already has clocked 145 million daily active users.
The cross-platform availability of Teams is definitely an advantage, already. Microsoft Teams is available for Windows PC, Apple Mac computing devices, Apple iPhone and iPad as well as Android phones and tablets. And if nothing else, you can also jump into Teams meetings via the web browser. In May, Microsoft Teams added the personal features for free, including unlimited calls and messages, allowing Teams to become a viable option for friends and family catchups. Earlier this month, Microsoft shared with us, data pulled from Teams usage trends and said that in February 2021 compared with February 2020, there has been an increase of 148% in Meetings on Microsoft Teams and a 45% increase in team chats.
This timing should work well for Microsoft Teams too. Apple realized the need to go cross platform with FaceTime, the voice and video call platform that was till now exclusive for iPhone, iPad and Mac, and will be rolling that out later this year with macOS Monterey, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. Apple users will be able to share FaceTime call links with friends who may be using Android phones or Windows PCs, and they’ll be able to join via a web browser. While Apple hasn’t released FaceTime as an app for other platforms yet, this could be a reaction to the need of video meeting apps as a daily driver for millions who need to stay connected with friends and family and also manage remote work.