Microsoft has hired former Uber Chief Product Officer Manik Gupta to try, yet again, to give its consumer business a boost. Gupta will be the new Corporate Vice President for Teams Consumer, Skype and GroupMe, reporting directly to Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365 Collaboration.
In addition to his former Uber role, which ended in 2020, Gupta also worked at Google for seven years, ending in 2015, when he was Director PM for Google Maps. He has done stints as an investor and advisor to early-stage tech companies. Gupta will start on August 30 and will be based in the Bay Area, according to an internal memo from Teper announcing Gupta's appointment. I've asked Microsoft whether Gupta is replacing anyone currently on staff, but so far, no word back.
Microsoft is planning to integrate a Teams Chat button into the taskbar of its upcoming Windows 11 operating system as a way to try to encourage more Teams users to try out the Teams consumer features that Microsoft launched in May. The Teams Chat button will replace the Skype Meet Now button that Microsoft made part of the Windows 10 taskbar. Microsoft officials have said users on Windows 10, Meet Now using Skype, will continue to be available (for as long as Windows 10 is supported, meaning at least until 2025, I would assume, though Microsoft didn't provide an actual date).
Microsoft officials have said that Skype won't be going away in the foreseeable future, but they haven't said much about Skype's role as Teams Consumer grows in share. Microsoft hasn't provided a retirement date for Skype. GroupMe is Microsoft's group-messaging app. Via Skype, which it was in the midst of buying in 2011, Microsoft bought GroupMe. Since then, Microsoft hasn't done much to integrate GroupMe with other Microsoft products or to promote the GroupMe service.
Microsoft's Teams Consumer offering -- known internally as "Teams for Life" -- is part of the company's overall consumer push. Microsoft's Modern Life and Devices business are all about growing consumer share for the company, despite its not-so-great track record with consumer products like Windows Phone, Groove Music, its Cortana digital assistant, and the Microsoft Band fitness tracker and more.
Microsoft officials recently said Teams now has 250 million monthly active users but have not shared any information on how many of those are using Teams consumer features.