Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Microsoft said Tuesday that it is releasing a Windows 11 update that includes the Chat feature to talk to friends and family members across Microsoft Teams. People who are already testing Windows 11 through the Windows Insider program can try the Chat software before Windows 1
The addition of the component in Windows could lead to greater adoption of Teams, which became more popular during the coronavirus pandemic. If more people use Teams, the software can become a more valuable resource in the Office suite, which is currently the largest part of Microsoft’s business.
People can access the Chat feature by entering the Win-C hotkey (formerly the shortcut to access the Cortana Virtual Assistant) from any screen in Windows 11, Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft Senior Program Manager, wrote in a blog post. An icon is also available on the taskbar. When the chat window is open, it is possible to open the full-fledged Microsoft Teams app, which has been redesigned for Windows 11.
Basically, users will only be available to participate in individual as well as group chats. Support for voice and video calls and other features will come later, LeBlanc wrote, and so far Chat has only been located for devices that use the English language and configured for the United States. It’s only rolled out to a limited set of Insiders so far.
Not everyone needs to join Teams to be able to exchange messages with people who use Chat in Windows 11. If a person using Chat sends a message to a person who is not on Teams, the recipient will receive the message in an email or an SMS message, and Microsoft will provide an alternative to join Teams, LeBlanc wrote. And it is possible to synchronize Skype and Outlook contacts.
Microsoft added pre-installed Skype apps to Windows 10 in 2015, and last year, following the arrival of the pandemic, the company tried to make it easy for people to start Skype calls from Windows with a Meet Now feature. With Windows 11, the focus is instead on Teams, which had 145 million daily active users as of April.
As more people start using Teams as a result of the inclusion in Windows 11 in the form of Chat, it could pose new challenges for competitors, including Slack and Zoom.
“Today, Microsoft announced that it’s going to pack teams with both Windows and Office,” Slack said the day Microsoft announced Windows 11. “Our response is simple: choice is better than lock-in, open is better than closed, and fair competition is “Best of all. Unfortunately, Microsoft has never seen it that way.”
SEE: Why Windows 11 brings Android apps to your PC