Microsoft said Thursday that its Teams chat and conferencing apps added more than 12 million users in a week as the new crown outbreak led to a surge in home-based workers. As of March 18, Teams had 44 million users, more than double the 20 million active users reported in November. As more U.S. companies require employees to work from home, The number of Teams users grew from 32 million to 44 million between March 11 and March 18 alone.
However, Teams’ main competitors have yet to publish recent user data. For example, slack, a collaboration app, said in October that it had 12 million active users a day.
Slack did not update the data when it released its latest results on March 12, but said four of the company’s last five major deals were won with Microsoft Teams. Slack said Thursday that it added 7,000 paying subscribers between February 1 and March 18, a 40 percent increase in net increases from the previous two quarters, when it added about 5,000 new paying subscribers per fiscal quarter.
Microsoft has also introduced features designed to help with telemedicine and home work, such as helping hospitals manage virtual appointments through Teams’ booking app.
“In response to the new corona outbreak, organizations around the world are changing the way they work, and we can learn a lot from it. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at a virtual news conference.
Microsoft charges companies for the full version of Teams, but the average consumer can use the free version.
Doctors at st. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania are already using the Teams app, which they will use to videoconferencing with patients, including those vulnerable to the new corona, Microsoft said Thursday. They want to protect patients and hospitals in this way.
Slack said earlier this week that it would offer free services to many companies involved in responding to or slowing the new corona outbreak and would help new users speed up their setup.
Microsoft also said it is using artificial intelligence to develop new features to provide Teams users with more home-based convenience.
For example, one of the features automatically replaces the background in a video chat, which turns a cluttered bedroom background into a tidy office. Another feature filters background noise during a conference call.