- Microsoft is making its workplace collaboration tool, Teams, available on Linux operating systems.
- Team is the first Microsoft Office app available on Linux and the move is indicative of Microsoft’s willingness to collaborate with competitors and become a more open platform.
- Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has made a number of moves to support and embrace Linux, which its previous CEO Steve Ballmer had referred to as a “cancer.”
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Microsoft is making its workplace collaboration tool, Teams, available for users of Linux, the open source operating system.
Teams is the first Office application to become available for Linux, in the latest sign that under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is willing to cosy up with even its one-time rivals. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once referred to Linux as a “cancer,” seeing it as one of the biggest threats to the then-dominance of Windows.
Teams is a chat and collaboration app that is bundled into Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription-based productivity suite for businesses. It offers chat, video meetings, calling, and collaboration on Office documents and files.
In November, Microsoft announced that Teams had 20 million daily active users, a huge leap from the 13 million it had in June. That’s also much larger than the 12 million daily active users that leading rival Slack said it had in October.
This latest move to offer Teams on Linux indicates that Microsoft has no intention of stopping that growth and is willing to work with competitors to do so.
“We are committed to supporting mixed environments across our cloud and productivity offerings…It’s also an exciting opportunity for developers who have built apps for Teams to be able to grow their reach to this new set of users,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
This Linux love-fest is nothing new for Microsoft under the leadership of Nadella: One of his first big proclamations as CEO was to say that “Microsoft loves Linux,” and that it would support the operating system going forward. In 2016, Microsoft even joined the Linux Foundation.
Linux, while not as popular in the mainstream PC market, is the dominant standard in the data centre and server room, and therefore is powering much of the modern internet. Embracing Linux is a strategic move towards appealing to developers.
The bet on Linux has apparently paid off. Earlier this year, a Microsoft engineer said that usage of Linux surpassed Windows on its own Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
In 2018, Microsoft even said it would develop its own version of Linux when it introduced Azure Sphere, an operating system for Internet connected devices and gadgets. Earlier this year, too, Microsoft started shipping the full Linux kernel with Windows 10 to make life easier for developers.
Teams is now available for Linux users in a public preview mode and users will be able to submit feedback.
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