Microsoft Teams 2.0 Client Drops in Public Preview

Teams 2.0 Client Hero approved

It’s been a long time coming for long-suffering Microsoft Teams users. Today, Microsoft is launching access to a public preview of its new client software for Teams on Windows. The new client, which is officially version 2.1, will bring x2 faster performance while using 50% less memory.

The current Teams client is Electron based, a cross-platform programming framework, which while bringing an easy way for Microsoft to code once and have it run on multiple platforms, Electron apps are notorious for poor performance and resource utilization. So, if you are running the current Teams client on a notebook or poorly-spec’d device, then interacting with the app is likely a painful experience that drains the battery quickly. That’s all set to change.

Microsoft says about the updated client:

We have been listening to your feedback which has culminated in a reimagining of Teams from the ground up. The new app is built on a foundation of speed, performance, flexibility, and intelligence — delivering up to 2x faster performance while using 50% less memory so you can save time and collaborate more efficiently. We have also streamlined the user experience so that it is simpler to use and easier to find everything in one place. These enhancements also provide the foundation for game changing new AI-powered experiences such as Copilot for Microsoft Teams, announced earlier this month.

New Microsoft Teams 2.0 client based on WebView2

The new Teams client is based on Microsoft’s WebView2 technology, which itself is based on Chromium and Microsoft Edge. Work has been undertaken to improve data, network, chat, and video speed and performance. Although, Microsoft notes this is just the start and it’s not done optimizing performance. Microsoft claims, using data from benchmarking company GigaOm, that app launch and meeting joins are already twice faster.

User experiences have also been updated in the new app. Including making it easier to track notifications, search for information, manage messages, and organize Teams channels.

Usability improvements in Microsoft Teams 2.0
Usability improvements in Microsoft Teams 2.0

The authentication model has been updated so that it’s easier to switch tenants, much like it has been in the mobile version of the Teams app for some time. There’s no need to log in and out of different tenants using the new desktop client. And, regardless of which tenant you are signed in to, you will receive notifications from all of them.

new authentication experience allows you to switch tenants easily in the new Teams client
New authentication experience allows you to switch tenants easily in the new Teams client

Microsoft is building in new artificial intelligence (A.I.) features, like intelligent recap and Copilot for Teams into the new app.

When will the new Teams 2.0 client be available?

Users in the Microsoft 365 Public Preview program get access to the new Teams app today. Microsoft is aiming to release the new client more generally later in 2023 and extend access to Mac users.

Commercial customers will need an admin to opt-in for the Preview Program before end users can access the updated client app. Users who choose to use the new client will be able to switch back to the classic Teams app any time using a toggle switch.

90+ new features coming to Microsoft Teams

Microsoft also announced today that it is bringing ninety new features to Teams. More details will be available later this week as part of its Enterprise Connect event. One new feature we do know about is the new Files app experience, which will be available in preview this week and generally available mid-April.