Microsoft Teams is officially more popular than email for most businesses

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Microsoft Teams has retained its position as the most popular online collaboration tool in enterprise, even after the height of its popularity seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The claim was made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking on an earnings call for the company’s Q1 2023 financial year results.

Nadella claimed users interact with Microsoft Teams 1,500 times a month on average, and spend more time in Teams chats than they do in email clients, meaning that the service is not only retaining pandemic-era users, but also seeing increased engagement from them.

Pandemic-era collaboration

While many of Nadella’s comments were for company shareholders, he also revealed some new information about Teams’ admittedly tight grip on the collaboration software space.

The Microsoft chief noted the number of users who were using “four or more” features within Teams had increased over 20% year on year. 

This is vague, but does suggest that users may be becoming more familiar with Teams, and perhaps other video conferencing software and collaboration solutions as the pandemic progresses.

Supporting this notion is Nadella’s revelation on the call that the number of monthly active enterprise users using third party and custom applications within Teams has increased by almost 60% year on year.

That increased reliance on external applications also suggests that remote collaboration is becoming embedded into the way people approach work, regardless of the platform they choose. Companies are clearly making investments into the collaboration space with a long-term plan in mind.

This, too, has worked out well for Microsoft. Nadella claimed that “over 55%” of its enterprise customers also buy into its Teams Rooms or Teams Phone services. Cisco is the highest profile company to announce that their devices and peripherals will run Teams natively, and, in the wake of the news, other large corporations may be encouraged to follow suit

Most small to mid-sized businesses, however, will likely settle for the new Teams Premium service, which Nadella claims will, “address enterprise demands for advanced meeting features”. This is sure to boost enterprise engagement, as well as spending, even more when it comes to Teams products.

It’s perhaps not surprising that email is losing out to collaboration tools like Google Workspace and Slack, which can feel immediate and synchronous and, for many, attaching files into chats is more intuitive than doing so in an email.

However, emails remain in prolific use for enterprises, especially when collaborating with external organisations. With convenient and intuitive solutions for cross-business collaboration being thin on the ground, any innovation in this area from Microsoft, or anyone, could move to kill off email for good.

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