Microsoft is launching a personalized version of Microsoft Teams today. After preview service Nearly a year ago, Microsoft Teams is now available for free for personal use with friends and family. The service itself is almost identical to the Microsoft Teams services used by businesses, and allows people to chat, video call, and share calendars, locations, and files easily.
Microsoft also continues to offer free 24-hour video calls to everyone available in the preview version in November. You can meet up to 300 people in video calls that can last up to 24 hours. Microsoft plans to eventually set 60-minute limits for group calls of up to 100 people after the pandemic, but will hold 24-hour 1: 1 calls.
Although the preview was originally released on iOS and Android, Microsoft Teams for personal use now works online, on mobile, and on desktop applications. Microsoft also allows personal users of Teams to deploy Together Mode, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to segment your face and shoulders and place you together with other people in virtual space. Skype got the same feature back in December.
Speaking of Skype, Microsoft has not yet announced its intention to replace Skype with Microsoft Teams on the consumer side. Microsoft said it was “fully committed to Skype” last year when it released a preview of this personalized version of Microsoft Teams, but Zoom’s rise during the pandemic certainly stressed the irrelevance of Skype among consumers.
As we said last year, the personal version of Microsoft Teams is part of it Microsoft’s broader commitment to stay relevant with consumers after exiting several consumer-friendly services. Microsoft doesn’t want to compete with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or other chat apps, but it’s clear that Zoom will be visible to the company after it has risen with consumers during the pandemic.