Microsoft Teams: Tech giant Microsoft virtually kicked off Microsoft Build 2021 on Tuesday, and during the event, it announced a list of updates for its video conferencing solution Microsoft Teams. With these updates, developers would get the ability to “real-time, multi-user collaboration experiences for your meetings apps, such as whiteboarding, design, project boards”, Redmond has said. The company said that during the pandemic, everyone began working remotely and there was a need for virtual meetings, which led to Microsoft Teams becoming popular, adding that the solution witnesses about 145 million global users everyday.
Now, the tech giant is looking to expand the solution further and has therefore announced a shared-stage integration feature for Teams that would let developers build collaborative apps on top of Teams. Moreover, the company would also be extending its Together Mode in Teams so that developers can bring in their own custom scenes. New media APIs with resource-specific consent are also being provided to the developers so that they will get real-time access to audio as well as video streams so that they are able to offer features like transcription, note taking and insights gathering through the apps they develop.
Redmond is also bringing “fluid components” in private preview with which end users would be able to send messages with a table, a list or action items which can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line. “Fluid components users can ideate, create, and decide together, while holding fewer meetings and minimizing the need for long chat threads,” Microsoft said.
With this, Microsoft might be looking to take on Zoom, which earlier this year released a software development kit or SDK for developers to build it right into their apps. It is not quite the same though since Zoom was offering the integration of Zoom into other apps while Microsoft is asking developers to build their apps on top of Teams. This is likely because while Zoom is a simple video conferencing solution, Microsoft has developed Teams to offer an entire workplace solution, down to to-do lists and assignment of jobs among team members. Against the backdrop of this difference, it makes sense that both the competitors would adopt different strategies to rope in third-party developers and expand their solutions.
Microsoft has been bringing in features to Teams a bit later as compared to Zoom and Google Meet, but it is also trying to bring more value with each of these features in the hopes to offer a similar capability but better. Since Teams could not quite catch up to the popularity of Zoom and Meet at the beginning of the lockdown, it seems to be using its late reforms in its favour by trying to one-up its competitors this way.
Announcement on next gen of Windows?
Meanwhile, Redmond is not going to be making any announcements about its plans for Windows at Build 2021. The company is rather planning to make a detailed announcement about what it is bringing out next in the PC OS. During his keynote address at Build, CEO Satya Nadella teased the announcement that would be coming soon. He said that he has been testing the “next generation of Windows” for the past few months, and he said that it would be “one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators”. He also stated that he was “incredibly excited” about the next update.
Redmond has been working on a new Windows app store over the past few months, while also hoping to bring about some major changes in OS user interface.
Moreover, the fact that Nadella referred to the OS update as “next generation of Windows” rather than Windows 10 hints that there could be a shift in the branding of Windows itself rather than just updates and changes.
But what it has in store will only be unveiled in time.