Microsoft Teams has been a popular choice for businesses over the last year or two, and now there’s a version for friends and family. This will offer all the functions of Microsoft Teams for free, allowing you to chat, video call and share files with the people you don’t work with.
This is handy for those that don’t want to use Zoom, Meet or Facetime but it does raise the question: what about Skype? The new personal version of Microsoft Teams pretty much mirrors the Skype offering – except for maybe the ease of phoning a landline. In fact, the mobile version of Microsoft Teams Personal looks more like a version of Whatsapp, combining text chat, voice calls, rooms and calendars.
The new Microsoft Teams can be accessed from desktop (with apps for Windows and Mac as well as browser access) as well as mobile. As well as chatting by voice, video or text with friends, you can also share documents in the same way as the business version, allowing you to collaborate on projects. It currently offers free video calls (up to 24-hours long) for up to 300 people, however, this is likely to return to a 60-minute limit and a maximum of 100 people as pandemic restrictions lift. One-to-one calls will remain at 24 hours.
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The new Together mode has also been made available for Teams Personal – as it has for Skype – allowing you to superimpose you and your chat group into various scenes, making it (sort of) look like you’re in one place. It also looks like Teams will get its own button inside Outlook, at least in the browser edition, right next to the Skype access.
Microsoft has said that it was fully committed to Skype, however, that was pre-COVID and the world of video chat has evolved drastically since. For two years it maintained both Microsoft Messenger and Skype before combining them in 2013, so we may see Skype for some time yet. But with Skype for Business finally closing this July, it seems a matter of when not if.