- Microsoft says it has seen a 500 percent increase in meetings, calling, and conferences on its Teams workplace chat app in China, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- This comes after the company told Business Insider on Monday that it is offering customers and partners free six-month trials of the premium version of its Teams chat app as coronavirus fears have led to an increase in remote work.
- Other videoconferencing and collaboration tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts are also expanding their free versions amid the outbreak. Zoom has seen increased usage as well.
- Microsoft is asking all employees at its Seattle-area headquarters and in the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home until March 25 amid fears about the spread of coronavirus.
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Microsoft says it has seen a huge increase in usage of its workplace chat app, Teams, in China, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve recently tested service continuity during a usage spike in China. Since January 31, we’ve seen a 500 percent increase in Teams meetings, calling, and conferences there, and a 200 percent increase in Teams usage on mobile devices,” Microsoft says in a blog post.
This comes after the company told Business Insider on Monday that it is offering customers and partners free six-month trials of the premium version of its Teams chat app as coronavirus fears have led to an increase in remote work.
Teams already has a free version which places limits on certain features. For example, free Teams users can’t record meetings, and they only get 2 GB of file storage, as opposed to the full terabyte enjoyed by paying customers. Microsoft is now offering a free six-month trial that includes all those features.
It is also updating the free app. On March 10 it will lift restrictions on its free Teams app to lift its restrictions on user limits and allow users to schedule meetings for video calling and conferencing.
That six-month free trial for Teams was first offered in China and is now offered globally.
Other video-conferencing and collaboration tools are taking similar measures as Microsoft, and seeing increases as well. Zoom said it saw a huge increase in users of the free version of its product since the coronavirus started, although its CFO this week said that its still to early to tell what kind of impact the spike will have on the business going forward.
Last week Zoom lifted the 40 minute meeting time limit for the free version of product in China, as CEO Eric Yuan said he wanted to do something to help those affected by the outbreak.
Additionally, Google on Tuesday said it would offer the premium version of its Google Hangouts Meet videoconferencing service to all G Suite customers.
Collaboration tools like Teams could benefit from the coronavirus outbreak as more companies ask employees to pause travel and work remotely. Analysts expect cloud-software companies like Zoom, Slack, and Dropbox to benefit from increased usage.
Microsoft itself is asking all employees at its Seattle-area headquarters and in the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home until March 25, as the coronavirus spreads in both areas.
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