Microsoft reportedly wants more people working on its Copilot AI projects from the Teams app staff, despite its recent unbundling from Office 365

Microsoft Teams gets Copilot features
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is reportedly undergoing a reorg which will see multiple employees working under the Teams chat app umbrella transition to Copilot.
  • While Microsoft Teams is still a priority for the company, it has plunged resources into Copilot to seize a golden opportunity that could potentially present the immense success Teams enjoyed in the early COVID-19 days.
  • Copilot for Teams is reportedly the most loved and used Copilot based on customer feedback and research.

Microsoft is undoubtedly placing all its bets on AI advances this year. The company has integrated the technology across most (if not all) of its products and services. 

And as it now seems, the tech giant is shifting its focus from its Teams chat app to its Copilot AI products. According to an internal memo seen by Business Insider, Microsoft is transitioning employees from its Teams chat app to work on Copilot AI products. This means that the company requires more manpower to facilitate its AI advances, which are gaining traction rapidly among users. 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and organizations embraced work-from-home and hybrid work. As a result, there was a high demand for video conferencing and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

 Jared Spataro, Microsoft's head of AI at Work, attributed Teams' rapid adoption and growth to the pandemic, referring to the period as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.” Microsoft Teams hit The Microsoft executive said “We surged on Teams to win” in the memo, indicating the company wants to use a similar approach with Copilot. 

Microsoft wants all hands on deck on Copilot 

Microsoft Copilot

(Image credit: Windows Central | Jez Corden)

Microsoft Teams' hype is seemingly gone with the pandemic, as a bit of normalcy has been restored, with employees back in the office and becoming less dependent on video-conferencing tools for meetings.

As such, multiple employees under the Teams umbrella will now be part of the newly-found central Copilot and “future of work" department with Microsoft's GM, Colette Stallbaumer, at the helm. According to a source with close affiliations, the shake-up will lead to more Microsoft employees losing their jobs (presumably part of the expected 10,000 Microsoft job cuts from last year). 

While addressing Microsoft employees impacted by the change, the Head of AI at Work indicated:

“Going forward, no matter what you do or where you work, your job will be to drive AI transformation.”

Following this change, Microsoft will plunge more resources into Copilot and its advances, but Teams is still a priority. According to Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw, Copilot for Teams is Microsoft's most used and loved service per customer feedback and research.

This happens as Teams hit over 320 million active monthly users as of December 2023 amid pressure from the EU Commission that recently forced Microsoft to unbundle Teams from its Office 365 package due to anticompetitive practices complaints from Salesforce-owned Slack. 

Microsoft already made a multi-billion dollar investment in AI, further strengthening its partnership with OpenAI. While OpenAI has recently found itself in the corridors of justice for copyright infringement and abandoning its founding agreement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says “It wouldn't matter if OpenAI disappeared tomorrow. We have the data, IP rights, and all the capability.”

Microsoft might make similar moves in the future in favor of AI. It is now the world's most valuable company after hitting $3 trillion in market capitalization, with market analysts attributing this success to its early investment and adoption of generative AI across its products and services.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.