The hope is that by making it available for preview, the company can get feedback from the community and improve it before it becomes generally available. “Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available for Linux users in public preview, enabling high quality collaboration experiences for the open source community at work and in educational institutions,” the company wrote in the blog post announcing the release.
The goal here ultimately is to help get Teams into the hands of more customers by expanding the platforms it runs on. “Most of our customers have devices running on a variety of different platforms such as Windows 10, Linux and others. We are committed to supporting mixed environments across our cloud and productivity offerings, and with this announcement, we are pleased to extend the Teams experience to Linux users,” the company wrote in the blog post.
This announcement significant for a couple of reasons. For starters, Microsoft has had a complicated history with Linux and open source, although in recent years under Satya Nadella it has embraced open source. This shows that Microsoft is willing to put its tools wherever customers need them, regardless of the platform or operating system.
Secondly, since it marks the first Office 365 app on Linux, if there is positive feedback, it could open the door for more apps on the platform down the road.
The announcement also comes against the backdrop of the company’s on-going battles with Slack for enterprise collaboration platform users. In July, Microsoft announced 13 million daily active users on Teams. Meanwhile, Slack has 12 million DAUs. It’s worth noting that Slack has been available on Linux for almost two years.