Microsoft is making some big changes for Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, broadening availability in big ways.
TechCrunch has the report on all the changes Microsoft is making today. First and foremost, Office 365 is seeing a change in branding, while also a change to the plans available to customers. And, next, a potentially even bigger change for consumers who want to use another service similar to Slack, with Microsoft Teams going broad to the general consumer.
First up, a new look for Office 365.
Microsoft 365 personal and family plans
Microsoft will be rebranding Office 365 to Microsoft 365, and, at the same time, launching new plans for personal use and families. Personal plans will start at $7 per month, and the family plans will start at $10, so nothing changes in that regard.
We are basically evolving our subscription from — in our minds — a set of tools to solutions that help you manage across your work and life,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s CVP of Modern Life, Search and Devices, told me ahead of today’s announcement.
The new plans will go live on April 21.
Microsoft Teams for consumers
This is a huge change for Microsoft, but not necessarily surprising. The company has had its Microsoft Teams available for corporate users for quite some time now, and it has grown into a popular option in its own right. But it looks like Slack is getting some competition for the general consumer, too, as Microsoft Teams is expanding to that market.
Microsoft Teams combines not only a full-fledged chat service, but also Microsoft’s video calling service, as well as the company’s other most-used apps and other features. The new version for consumers will launch sometime later this year, but no specific release date has been set just yet.
Microsoft Teams for consumers will let them switch between their personal and business accounts if need be. And collaborating with other family members and friends will be pretty simple:
Just like you can switch between work and personal accounts in Outlook, you will soon be able to do the same in Teams. The personal teams view will look a little bit different, with shared calendars for the family, access to OneDrive vaults, photo sharing, etc., but it sits on the same codebase as the business version. You’ll also be able to do video calls and shared to-do lists.
If you’re curious about the future of Skype, considering the expansion of Microsoft Teams, well, fear not because the company says the service isn’t going anywhere:
Skype continues,” he said when I asked him about the future of that service. “We remain committed to Skype. Skype today is used by a hundred million people on a monthly basis. The way I think about it is that Skype is a great solution today for personal use. A lot of broadcast companies use it as well. Teams is really the more robust offering, as you will, where in addition to doing video and chat calling, we also bring in rich communications and templates […], we have things like dashboard and it also helps you pull in a richer set of tools.
So, big changes for Microsoft today — even if they won’t see the light of day until later this year. Are you looking forward as a consumer to try out Teams?