Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions

Will Windows 11 significantly increase Microsoft Teams monthly active users?

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Microsoft just announced an impressive 250 Million Monthly Active Users. What is interesting is that number is not just Office 365 users, which would include Office 365 business, education and government users or what Microsoft would call “commercial”, it also includes Home or consumer users using Teams. The numbers also include any users currently in a trial, which is an option in Office 365.

Teams consumer doesn’t seem to have a consistent name to distinguish it from Office 365, Microsoft refers to it as “Teams for Personal Life”, “Teams Free” and the Microsoft website URLs are “Teams for Home”.  I suspect Microsoft want to present it to the market as just “Teams” but there are some important functional differences. For simplicity, I’ll refer to Office 365 Teams and Teams consumer to distinguish them.

I suspect the majority of the 250M Monthly Active users are Office 365 users, though Microsoft has not shared any specific Teams consumer numbers. Microsoft has been marketing Teams consumer hard, even putting advert banners for teams consumer in the Office 365 Teams app, something I am not a fan of and making it a key part of their Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions

What’s happening with Microsoft Teams and Windows 11?

Two things are happening together that may well increase Teams consumer usage. Firstly Windows 11 home edition (specifically home edition) will require you to have a Microsoft (consumer) account (previously called a Live ID, or MSA). Previous Windows versions like Windows 10 would push you towards using a Microsoft account, but you could choose not to. Windows 11 also requires an Internet connection to install.

So, 100% of Windows 11 Home users will be signing in with a Microsoft Account.

Secondly, Microsoft is building the Teams consumer experience right into Windows 11, so when you sign in to Windows 11 you will be signed in to Microsoft Teams consumer (or so I assume, we’re yet to see how the final release of Windows 11 will work since it’s still in preview). Maybe Teams will launch and suggest you sign in the first time, rather than auto signing you in/up.

Now, just signing in doesn’t count by Microsoft’s definition as “ Teams active users”, users have to perform a deliberate action, but this certainly gives Teams consumer a big leg up in the likelihood of being used. Indeed a large part of the initial reveal of Windows 11 was actually about Teams.

Today Microsoft claims 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10, which includes appliances, Xbox and lots else beyond just PC’s, but the majority are PCs. The PCs will be split between enterprise (business) and Home users. I can’t find any good source that has an estimate of the number of home vs enterprise Windows users (please let me know if you have a number or estimate).

I would guess the majority of Windows users is business editions, so let’s just say 15% are Windows home, that’s about 195 million PCs. So there are our potential additional 195 million more monthly active Teams users? Well, not quite.

It’s been widely publicised that Windows 11 has stricter hardware requirements around support for specific CPU’s and the need for TPM chips means many  Windows 10 PCs won’t be able to upgrade to Windows 11. So let’s say 50% can and do upgrade and/or buy new Windows 11 home PC’s, so now we’re at about 97.5 Million users.

What percentage of these end up using Teams because it’s right in front of them? That’s hard to estimate, but if it’s half that’s another 48.7 Million Monthly active Teams users, if it’s 25% that’s 24.4 Million Teams users.

So, Windows 11 Home could have a material impact on the number of Teams users, We shall see as Windows 11 arrives later this year. Stay tuned to the blog for updates on the numbers as we get them.

Again, if you have more accurate sources or estimates of any of these numbers, or other thoughts, please let me know.

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Microsoft Collaboration specialists Modality Systems.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his blog, Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.

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Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions