Microsoft on Thursday said the number of Teams users has seen explosive growth with the collaboration platform adding 12 million daily users in just the past week, as workplaces turn to the tool as a remote-work solution amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The company says 44 million people globally are using Teams on a daily basis, up from 32 million as of March 11. It's also more than double the amount from four months ago, when Microsoft reported 20 million daily active users for Teams.
"As organizations around the world are changing the way they work in response to this situation, we're going to learn a tremendous amount to transform how we work together," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a pre-recorded video address provided to reporters. "There's going to be really a fundamental structural change in how we transcend some of these geographic boundaries."
Teams includes group chats, instant messaging and video/audio meetings, along with integration of Microsoft and third-party applications. The tool is included as part of an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription.
Microsoft has been actively seeking to boost Teams usage during the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting rise in remote work. On March 5, Microsoft said it would offer a free Office 365 E1 subscription for six months to businesses and educational institutions that aren't currently licensed for Teams.
On Thursday, Microsoft also announced several new Teams capabilities that are planned to launch "later this year."
For online meetings, Teams will add a live-noise suppression feature to remove background noise, along with a "raised hand" feature to let meeting participants send a visual cue when they want to speak. For chat, Teams will allow for pop-out chats in a separate window, Microsoft said.
Meanwhile, the company is also debuting Microsoft 365 Business Voice in the U.S., which is an offering for small and mid-sized businesses that "makes Teams a complete phone system," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, in the pre-recorded video.
Teams has been a major focus in many remote-work deployments during the pandemic response, solution providers have told CRN.
For instance, Salinas, Calif.-based Alvarez Technology Group uses the collaboration app itself, and "now we're teaching our clients how to use Teams," said Luis Alvarez, president and CEO of the solution provider. "We have a trainer that we use for that--and he's been in demand, needless to say."
Microsoft Teams also suffered a major outage this week as a greater number of workers turned to the tool amid the coronavirus pandemic. A map on downdetector.com showed the Teams outage on Monday affecting users primarily in Europe, but also in parts of the U.S. and India.