Cloud Wars logo with text: The Response to COVID-19, Microsoft offering Teams for free
Cloud Wars logo with text: The Response to COVID-19, Microsoft offering Teams for free

Tech’s Coronavirus Response: Microsoft Offers Best-Selling Teams at No Charge for 6 Months

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(Second in an ongoing series about ways in which major tech vendors are helping employees, customers and communities to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Read Part 1 here.)

 

Earlier this month, as COVID-19 was about to morph from frightening threat to deadly menace, Microsoft began offering its extremely popular Teams suite of collaboration tools to businesses and non-profits for six months for free.

While Microsoft’s taking special steps to support non-profits in a wide variety of ways—including a $1 million donation—the Teams offer is available to not only public- but also private-sector organizations. 

In a March 5 blog post called Our commitment to customers during COVID-19, corporate VP for Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro wrote, “Here at Microsoft in the Puget Sound, we’re encouraging our teams to work from home as much as possible, as are many organizations in this region. And we expect this trend to continue across the world. At Microsoft, our top priority is the health and safety of employees, customers, partners, and communities. By making Teams available to as many people as possible, we aim to support public health and safety by keeping teams connected while they work apart.”

Spataro’s post offers specific information for individual users as well as for IT professionals around how to register for the 6-month free trial. 

How Microsoft Might Benefit From Doing Good

Microsoft could well be receiving an unexpected return from its good works with Teams. It will likely get to observe first-hand some highly innovative applications of Teams’ capabilities by organizations of every kind.

Check out this excerpt from a Spataro blog post from two weeks ago: “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. Despite this usage increase, service has been fluid there throughout the outbreak.”

“We’re inspired by the agility and ingenuity that impacted schools, hospitals, and businesses have shown throughout COVID-19. And we are committed to helping organizations everywhere stay connected and productive during this difficult time,” Spataro wrote in his post.

“A Turning Point in How We Work and Learn”

In a new blog post that went up today, Microsoft VP Spataro shared that the uptake of Teams has skyrocketed

  • in the past week, 12 million new daily users have joined the Teams community;
  • this unprecedented spike pushes the total number of daily users to 44 million; and
  • every single day over this past week, Teams users have generated almost 1 billion “meeting and calling minutes” on Teams.

Spataro wrote, “We believe that this sudden, globe-spanning move to remote work will be a turning point in how we work and learn. Already, we are seeing how solutions that enable remote work and learning across chat, video, and file collaboration have become central to the way we work…

“It’s very clear that enabling remote work is more important than ever, and that it will continue to have lasting value beyond the COVID-19 outbreak. We are committed to building the tools that help organizations, teams, and individuals stay productive and connected even when they need to work apart.”

Microsoft President Outlines $1 Million Donation

In another Microsoft initiative, president Brad Smith describes the company’s efforts in and around its corporate headquarters in Washington state in a blog post called Microsoft Donates $1 million to Puget Sound’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

“While reducing the number of people on our campuses has also reduced the need for onsite support from hourly workers supporting our operations, we will continue to pay them their regular wages, whether their services are needed or not,” Smith writes in that post.

“It’s encouraging to see Amazon, Expedia, Facebook, Google, and Salesforce announce that they’ll do the same. As large corporations we can take this step and should. But not all businesses will be able to do so.

“As our community focuses on public health needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important that we also rally together to address the unmet economic needs developing around us.”

You can see the full range of Microsoft’s initiatives around COVID-19 here.

(Second in an ongoing series about ways in which major tech vendors are helping employees, customers and communities to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Read Part 1 here.)

 

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