Microsoft is rolling out the ability to chat across personal and business Teams accounts

Teams consumer and enterprise users will be able to chat between the two platforms by mid-January.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is rolling out the ability for Teams Consumer users to communicate with Teams for business ones. This week, Microsoft updated its message center notifications to note that its external federation for chats between Teams consumer and Teams enterprise will be rolling out through mid-January.

Microsoft made this capability available worldwide as a preview in November and planned to roll it out completely before the end of last year. But the company ended up delaying the completion target to January 2022.

"With this update Teams users in your organization will be able to start a 1:1 or a group chat with Teams users who are using their personal accounts and vice-versa," explains the company in the updated message center notification. People will be able to invite any Teams user to chat using an email address or phone number and remain within the security and compliance policies of their organization, Microsoft's notification adds.

This capability will be for Teams on the web, desktop, and mobile.

As the notification explains, admins will be able to enable or disable this capability at both the tenant and individual-user levels. The setting for this will roll out with the feature on as the default. Admins will be able to opt out via the Teams Admin portal under the External Access section (or use PowerShell commands to opt-out all users.)

Tony Redmond, Office 365 expert and owner and principal of Redmond & Associates Consulting, notes in his post about the Teams enterprise/consumer federation that this feature covers chat, not calling or file exchanging, between Teams business and consumer users. Up until this feature rolls out, any attempt to chat between Teams enterprise and Teams consumer results in email, rather than an immediate chat, Redmond adds.

Microsoft added the ability for Teams users to chat and/or call with Skype consumer users in 2020.

Last year, Microsoft integrated a Teams chat button into Windows 11 as a way to get customers to try using the Teams personal/consumer features.  

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