Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Microsoft Teams usage up by 12 million in the past week, hitting 44 million daily active users, due largely to COVID-19

Microsoft says Teams usage is spiking because of remote working due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Meanwhile, it's readying more new Teams features for delivery later this year.

microsoftteamsmomentumfeatures.jpg

Credit: Microsoft

In the past seven days, usage of Microsoft's Teams group-collaboration platform has grown from 32 million daily active users to 44 million, largely driven by the COVID-19 coronavirus spurring more remote work and learning, Microsoft officials said. Microsoft announced its latest usage numbers, as well as a handful of coming Teams features today, March 19, on the third anniversary of public availability of Teams.

In November last year, Microsoft officials said they had 20 million daily active Teams users. In October 2019, Slack, Microsoft's main Teams rival, said it had 12 million daily active daily users. I don't believe Slack has released a more recent DAU number.
Microsoft defines daily active usage as the maximum daily users performing an "intentional act," like sending or replying to a chat; joining a meeting; or opening a file (not things like auto boot or closing the app.) The number includes the Teams desktop client, mobile client and web client.

New features coming to Teams before the end of calendar 2020 include: 

  • Offline and low-bandwidth support for reading messages and writing responses even when offline
  • The ability to pop out chats into a separate window
  • Real-time noise suppression for minimizing background noise
  • A "raise hand" feature for sending visual signals during a meeting
  • New integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted industrial devices
  • Inclusion of the Microsoft Bookings app in Teams for scheduling, managing and conducting virtual appointments

Microsoft also announced today that it is introducing Microsoft 365 Business Voice in the U.S. Microsoft announced Business Voice, a platform for turning Teams into a complete phone system, for certain other markets last fall. The Business Voice platform is aimed at small and mid-size businesses.