As part of its Microsoft 365 for consumers news today, the company announced Microsoft Teams for consumers and new Skype metrics. Skype has passed 40 million daily active users, an increase of 70% month over month. Furthermore, Skype to Skype calling minutes are up 220% month over month. Less than two weeks ago, Microsoft shared that Teams usage exploded 110% in the past four months. Many of today’s new Office feature announcements have tie-ins with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and working from home trend. But Skype and Microsoft Teams are arguably the most relevant as people look to connect online.
Microsoft has shared very few usage numbers since acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion in October 2011. Skype’s monthly active users, for example, haven’t been updated since August 2015 — 300 million has been the number for years. With usage exploding due to COVID-19, however, the company was eager to talk up Skype, and then pivot to Microsoft Teams, its fastest-growing business app ever. Today’s news focused on consumer features, and indeed the company wants Microsoft Teams to expand beyond businesses.
Microsoft Teams for consumers
Microsoft Teams for consumers will offer features “for your personal life.” The company wants you to use Teams to plan trips, neighborhood gatherings, and book club meetings. You can share photos and videos in a group chat and make video calls, as you might expect. Additionally, you will soon be able to collaborate over shared to-do lists, assign tasks to specific people, and coordinate schedules.
And for your daily life, Microsoft is promising features to share grocery lists, organize across family calendars, and store important information like Wi-Fi passwords and account info. You’ll even be able to get location updates via the Microsoft Family Safety app announced today. Microsoft Teams for Android and iOS will get these new features in preview “in the coming months.”
Skype’s future in question
Microsoft wants you to use Skype for your personal life “in the meantime.” Until Microsoft Teams gets these features, consumers should continue to use Skype. This suggests that for consumers, Skype’s days are numbered, much as Skype for Business is being phased out in favor of Microsoft Teams.
When asked, Microsoft didn’t confirm or deny this. “For now, Skype will remain a great option for customers who love it and want to connect with basic chat and video calling capabilities,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. “With the new features in the Microsoft Teams mobile app, we see Teams as an all in one hub for your work and life that integrates chat, video calling, [and the] ability to assign and share tasks, store and share important data with your group, [and] share your location with family and friends, whereas Skype is predominantly a chat and a video calling app platform. We have nothing more to share.”
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