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Microsoft Teams Usage Surges by 12 Million Users in a Week

Way more people are kicking the tires of Microsoft Teams worldwide as the coronavirus forces people to work from the isolation of their homes as a public health measure.

"We have seen an unprecedented spike in Teams usage, and now have more than 44 million daily users, a figure that has grown by 12 million in just the last seven days," reported Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, in a blog post Thursday.

Microsoft defines daily active usage as users doing something on purpose on a desktop, mobile or Web client in a 24-hour period. The definition doesn't include auto boots, minimizing a screen or closing the app.

The daily active usage figure is up from 20 million daily active users in November.

The recent increase is hardly surprising for an application that's included as the default collaboration software in many of the Office 365 SKUs that customers are already paying for. The global spike in remote workers and their employers' initiatives to use a tool they have on hand for presence, chat and meetings is converting a "shelfware" component of Office 365 into a vital tool for staying in touch.

Many of Teams' collaboration competitors like Slack, Zoom, Cisco WebEx and RingCentral are reporting increased demand, although Microsoft's unique scale with Office 365, and Teams' inclusion as part of the package, gives it a huge base to build on.

"We believe that this sudden, globe-spanning move to remote work will be a turning point in how we work and learn," said Spataro, who also noted that users generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes each day this week on Teams.

Scott Paul, senior director for the Microsoft Alliance at AppRiver, a major Microsoft cloud solution provider (CSP) partner company, said earlier this week that Teams would probably be a rare bright spot for Microsoft's business in the next few months. "Microsoft's investments in teamwork and collaboration technologies like Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive, and Surface Hub could potentially mean some incremental volume as businesses get serious about fewer meetings and less travel," Paul said. "On the other hand, global economic weakness will likely translate to less hiring and sluggish PC and server sales."

Similarly, RCP columnist Per Werngren encouraged partners to leverage their Teams subscriptions internally as one of a few key steps in confronting the business challenges of the coronavirus. "By leading by example, you will probably also seal some new business related to Teams," Werngren wrote.

Also this week, Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster highlighted Teams in a blog post detailing partner resources around COVID-19. "We recommend that partners lead with the CSP Trial, as this is the only experience that partners can initiate and manage," Schuster wrote. She also noted that Microsoft FastTrack is available to help organizations get set up for remote work.

The large bump in usage for Teams has not been without its problems. The @MSFT365Status Twitter account reported problems with Teams chat on Monday and Tuesday of this week. "We investigated and resolved an issue with the Teams chat service that affected some of our users in the Europe region. We determined this to be a caching issue within a component of our infrastructure," the company said on the Twitter account Tuesday morning.

Amid the increasing interest in Teams, Spataro's blog touted several features that are coming later this year, including real-time noise suppression, a "raise hand" feature for getting attention in a large group video meeting,  offline/low-bandwidth support and new devices.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 19, 2020