When Microsoft announced Teams in November 2016, it entered a market firmly controlled by Slack, which had popularized business text chat as a convenient solution to email. From day one, Slack made it known it did not like Teams, and the rivalry has continued to this day.
But what became a rivalry may have been an acquisition in another timeline. According to multiple reports, Microsoft planned an $8 billion bid for Slack, but co-founder Bill Gates argued that the company would be better served using Skype to launch a competitor.
Instead of using Skype, Microsoft bundled most of its collaborative business software into Teams. In 2017, it replaced Microsoft Classroom with Teams. It will also discontinue Skype for Business in 2021 and move users to Teams. Microsoft executives have been clear that Teams is the primary communications platform going forward.
Microsoft Teams key advantage over competitors is its deep integration with Office 365. It natively integrates with Word, PowerPoint and Microsoft’s other apps, but Slack has spent years building a library of app plugins, which far surpasses Teams in quantity.
For businesses already subscribed to Microsoft 365 Business, Teams is a free add-on, instead of a separate bill. Slack has filed an EU antitrust complaint over this, stating that Microsoft has used “its market-dominant Office productivity suite” to hide the true cost of Teams, presenting similarities to its 1990’s Internet Explorer lawsuit.
While that may seem a little whiny from Slack, Microsoft has aggressively pushed the software to Windows customers. It was made a default part of the Microsoft 365 Business download last year and pre-installed on all Windows 10 PCs, even non-365 subscribers. Microsoft also added a tool to re-download the software if deleted.
If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft launched a free version of Teams in 2018, with limitations set so Teams is just a little bit better than Slack’s free version.
Of course, Slack is not Microsoft Teams only competitor. Google, Facebook, Cisco and Zoom are all competing for the video-conferencing and work-from-home market during lockdown, some succeeding more than others.
Until the COVID pandemic, Microsoft Teams grew at a gradual pace, adding new features and integrations along the way. In November 2019, the team announced 20 million active users, but many disregarded those figures as “growth hacking”, including Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield.
The software skyrocketed in popularity during lockdown, reaching 44 million active users by March and 75 million by April. According to digital experience management company Aternity, Microsoft Teams usage growth surpassed Zoom from February to June.
Whether those new users stayed is unknown, as Microsoft hasn’t provided Teams revenue statistics. Since April, Teams has been silent on user statistics, indicating that April may have been the peak month for usage.
Microsoft has also been coy about how many of those new users – the majority of which may have been on the free version or using a free trial – have turned into paying subscribers. As Microsoft does not break its Productivity and Business Processes division into segments, it’s unlikely we will know what impact Teams has had on Microsoft’s financials throughout the lockdown.
We have collected data and statistics on Microsoft Teams users, usage, revenue and competitors. Read on below to find out more.
Microsoft Teams Overview
|Launch date||14 March 2017|
|People||Satya Nadella (CEO), Jeff Taper (CVP of Office)|
Microsoft Teams Users
|November 2017||2 million|
|August 2018||5 million|
|November 2018||8 million|
|August 2019||13 million|
|November 2019||20 million|
|March 2020||44 million|
|April 2020||75 million|
Microsoft Teams Organizations
Microsoft Teams Revenue (Productivity & Business Processes Division)
Note: Microsoft does not break down revenue for its Productivity and Business Processes division. This includes Office 365 (personal and commercial), Dynamics and Teams. LinkedIn revenue has been excluded. Teams is used by 30 percent of Office 365 users, so it may generate $5-$10 billion for Microsoft, although that figure would be much lower in past years.
Microsoft Teams Meetings Per Day
|March 12, 2020||560 million|
|March 16, 2020||900 million|
|March 31, 2020||2.7 billion|
Microsoft Teams Age
|18 – 24||4%|
|25 – 34||14%|
|35 – 44||31%|
|45 – 54||29%|
Microsoft Teams Gender
Microsoft Teams Web Traffic
|January 2020||39 million|
|March 2020||187 million|
Microsoft Teams vs Slack: DAUs and Organisations
Note: Some of Microsoft Teams surge in DAUs is due to non-corporate usage, which may not stick post-COVID. Slack counts both free and paid subscribers for organisation total.
Other key Microsoft Teams stats
- Teams is Microsoft’s fastest growing business app ever (ZDNet)
- It is used by 91 of the Fortune 100 companies (MSPowerUser)
- Accenture, Continental AG, Ernst & Young, Pfizer and SAP are among the company’s with more than 100,000 active users (CNBC)
- Microsoft Teams is available in 181 countries, in 44 languages
- Its largest growth month was between May and April 2020, when it added 31 million users
- It also saw a 2.1 billion monthly rise in the amount of meetings per day in March
- Over 183,000 educational institutions are using Microsoft Teams (Microsoft)
- In April, it had 200 million meeting participants in a day
- There were also 34 million healthcare meetings in that month
- Microsoft Teams has grown by 894 percent since COVID-19 lockdown began (Aternity)
- That’s a higher percentage growth than Zoom, which achieved 667 percent growth in the same span of time
- Searches for Microsoft Teams increased by 379 percent between January and March 2020 (SimilarWeb)