Considering the global events of the past three years, and our increased reliance on the internet and technology in general to stay connected with the important people in our lives, it should really come as no surprise that Microsoft have made some moves to further integrate some of their communications software directly into Windows itself.
The presence of platforms such as Teams, and others such as Zoom, Google Duo, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram (and the myriad other messaging and communications platforms that exist) has meant that we can maintain some semblance of normality in our everyday lives, and keep in contact with those important to us when we couldn’t meet them in person. The technology has shown itself to be indispensable in the event that actual face-to-face contact is not an option. Thus, Microsoft has built part of its Teams platform directly into Windows 11 – but right now it’s not for work or school accounts.
In an interesting move by Microsoft, the Teams Chat available as part of Windows 11 is designed only for personal users, and cannot be used to connect to a work or school account. This is a huge push by Microsoft to get people using their platform for personal use instead of just for work or school (where they may already be using it) – and as such it places Teams in direct competition with the FaceTime/iMessage combo on MacOS and iOS devices.
The Teams Chat app that comes baked into Windows 11 has a slightly different icon, is much simpler, has far fewer features and will differentiate itself in the start menu if you have the full Teams installed on your device for work or school use.
The software itself is really just a simple chat and video app – but it utilises the Teams platform and infrastructure. Skype has been Microsoft’s go-to application for personal communications since they purchased it in 2011, but now it seems they may potentially be moving to phase it out in favour of a more unified and simplified Teams alternative.
The clean and easy-to-use interface will especially appeal to those who are looking for a basic communications app that doesn’t have many unnecessary and potentially confusing features and settings to navigate.
You can, of course, still download and use the regular version of Teams for work or school with all its enhanced features, along with Teams Chat, on Windows 11. It’s been suggested that Microsoft may make a similar version of Chat for Teams work and school if it’s requested enough (or allow people to log in to the simplified version with their work or school accounts,) although it seems unlikely, as people who use Teams for these purposes will usually need access to the full suite of tools that Teams makes available.