When Microsoft first announced Windows 11 in June, it promised a Chat with Microsoft Teams feature that hasn’t yet appeared in the beta. But it’s available starting today via the Windows Insider Program.
As you might expect, Chat with Microsoft Teams isn’t yet feature complete. In today’s build, you will be able to sign into Teams, add contacts, and chat with individuals and groups. But Microsoft promises improvements in the coming weeks, when it will enable audio and video calling, meetings, screen sharing, and other capabilities.
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To be clear, this is a combined consumer and business experience, and it is accompanied by a new Teams app that will also be included in Windows 11 when it ships this October. This “re-architected” Teams client is no longer built on Electron, but it includes the same capabilities of its predecessor like immersive meetings with Together Mode, the ability to send live emoji reactions, add polls and assign tasks in chats, integrate with your calendar to schedule and share meetings, views files and photos shared with a chat, search chat history, and more.
What this all means is that Chat with Microsoft Teams—or just Teams integration in Windows 11, really—is the first obvious step that Microsoft is taking towards eliminating Skype. And, perhaps more directly, Chat with Microsoft Teams replaces the Skype-powered Meet Now feature that debuted in recent Windows 10 versions. And in a semi-related move, Microsoft is also taking a Cortana keyboard shortcut, WINKEY + C, away from that app, which is also being deprecated. Now, WINKEY + C opens a chat window instead.
In this first release, Chat with Microsoft Teams is available in English (US) only, but that will obviously change. And you have to be connected to the Internet to use it; offline use is not supported yet.