If you read my review of Windows 11 nearly a year ago or my Closer Look column on Microsoft Teams integration in the OS, you probably know by now that I'm not a biggest fan of this feature. I've talked about how the shoehorned implementation is bare-bones, buggy, and has a lot of missing functionalities.
But hey, that sounds quite similar to Windows 11's Taskbar as well, so why is my article not about that? The reason is that Taskbar is actually getting some attention from Microsoft. Of course, there are complaints that it's too little, too late, but at least Microsoft is adding and returning capabilities to it. On the other hand, we've barely seen any movement on the Teams front, and that is what I have an issue with considering that the app sits front and center in the Taskbar by default.
There have been little to no updates to the Teams experience in Windows 11 in the past year. Almost all my complaints about the lack of context menus, functionalities, and bugs still stand. The only relatively major improvement I've seen in the past year in Teams is support for Snap Layouts. However, even that isn't a slam dunk because this is something that should have been present since launch.
Then, there's also the problem of Teams' horrendous performance. Although Microsoft has talked before about how the migration from Electron and AngularJS to Edge WebView2 and React should result in lower memory consumption and "scale up for the client", all of this sounds like mumbo jumbo when I open a Teams chat window and see RAM usage jump to anywhere between 400-600MB.
Even with Windows 11 version 22H2 arriving later this month, Teams is only getting a couple of relatively minor OS-level functionalities. These are the ability to mute the mic from the Taskbar and the option to share an open window when you hover it over an app in the Taskbar. Considering that Windows 11 has been out for almost a year, this does not sound that exciting for an app that sits at the center of the OS' Taskbar by default.
Life’s full of trials. Ace a case and save the day with Windows 11. Don’t miss @MarvelStudios’ #SheHulk: Attorney at Law, now streaming on the Disney+ app on @Windows: https://t.co/6z3n5RLpis #ad pic.twitter.com/qi9qyNVcTp— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) August 19, 2022
But perhaps the most telling aspect of Microsoft's apparent lack of interest in Teams on Windows 11 is the fact that the company barely talks about it. It makes up for footnotes in Windows 11 Insider build changelogs. Heck, Microsoft even partnered up with Disney for a Windows 11 ad (video above) featuring She-Hulk and while we saw Snap Layouts, Office apps, and even virtual desktops, Teams was a no-show. Considering that Teams work users in Windows 11 can now interact with both personal and external accounts, I would have figured that marketing this capability would have been a natural fit to show an attorney's usage of the OS in this ad, but nope.
Of course, just because Teams is not featured in an ad doesn't immediately mean that it's a low priority for Microsoft. But consider the fact that Microsoft has not shared any stats about Teams usage on Windows 11 at all. We know Teams has millions of monthly active users overall but how many actually use the built-in integration with Windows 11? No idea.
The comparison that immediately came to my mind when thinking of this topic was Cortana. Microsoft consistently advertised its (arguably) failed digital assistant's capabilities, including publishing statistics about how users had asked it 18 billion questions since launch. On the other hand, we are yet to find out if Teams is gaining any traction at all.
Of course, this is not really a matter of my productivity being impacted or my workflows being affected. I could easily hide the app from the Taskbar and never think about it again. But considering that Microsoft has been pushing Teams' personal usage for the past few months, seeing the app in its current stagnant state just feels wrong to me.
I know tons of people who use and like Windows 11 but none of them have intentionally opened the Teams app more than once. Whether that is due to Microsoft's lack of development focus and marketing of the feature when it comes to Windows 11 or due to the possibility that people have better alternatives to communicate with personal connections online is something that is still unclear. If it's the former, the situation can be remedied but if it's the latter, it's remarkable short-sightedness of vision and strategy from Microsoft.
I am an active Teams customer at my workplace and I really like the communication app despite its flaws. Microsoft wants Teams Personal to be the FaceTime of Windows 11, but it has shown no effort to actually complete this vision. A bundled operating system app deserves better, Teams deserves better.
What do you think of Teams integration in Windows 11? Are you satisfied with the implementation? Let us know in the comments section below!