In November, Microsoft announced Teams, a new 'chat-based workspace' for Office 365, taking on the popular workplace messaging and collaboration platform Slack. In March, Microsoft made Teams generally available for Office 365 customers in 181 countries and 19 languages around the world, having added over a hundred new features since its original announcement.
Over 150 partners have so far signed up to create software for the Teams platform, and Microsoft itself has already launched a Developer Preview program, to enable third parties to extend Teams' functionality.
Today, at its Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle, Microsoft revealed that it's opening up Teams "to all developers", enabling them "to publish apps through the Office Store onboarding and distribution process."
"Published apps will surface in a new discover apps experience," Microsoft explained today, "making it easier for users to add and use apps within Teams. This and other new features are now available in the Developer Preview and coming to users soon."
On top of that, Microsoft announced two new capabilities for Teams, which will first be available in the Developer Preview:
Compose extensions, in preview, users can issue commands to bring information from an app or service directly into their Team chat and avoid distracting context switches.
Third-party notifications in the activity feed— allow developers to alert users of key information and updates from their service. New Teams APIs are also coming to the Microsoft Graph, in preview, allowing developers to access team and channel information. Developers can now package these capabilities—tabs, bots and connectors, compose extensions, and activity feed notifications—into a single Teams app to make it simpler to publish and manage. At Build, partners such as Wrike, Sapho and Adobe will demonstrate their new Teams integrations.
The general release of Microsoft Teams is available on Windows, iOS and Android devices - but it will take some time before the new features and expanded dev support make their way from the Developer Preview program to the publicly available apps.