Microsoft is bringing its first Office app to Linux today. The software maker is releasing Microsoft Teams into a public preview, with the app available in native Linux packages in .deb and .rpm formats. “The Microsoft Teams client is the first Office app that is coming to Linux desktops, and will support all of Teams’ core capabilities,” explains Marissa Salazar, a product marketing manager at Microsoft.
The app looks identical to what is available on Windows and macOS, and it’s entering public preview before Microsoft finalizes it. Microsoft is bringing Teams to Linux as part of a bigger push to align Teams as its hub for Office and teamwork, alongside supporting mixed environments that rely on Linux. Microsoft has been gradually improving the Teams feature set as it battles rivals like Slack.
“I’m really excited about the availability of Microsoft Teams for Linux,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “With this announcement, Microsoft is bringing its hub for teamwork to Linux. I’m thrilled to see Microsoft’s recognition of how companies and educational institutions alike are using Linux to transform their work culture.”
It’s significant to see Microsoft invest in desktop Linux, especially an Office app. Microsoft has never embraced Linux with its own Office apps before, and this Teams launch appears to be a way for the company to address that gap. It’s unlikely we’ll see full versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint anytime soon, but this Teams launch could act as a bridge to improved Progressive Web App versions of Office.
Microsoft is also developing its new Fluid Framework, which takes the idea of documents and turns them into a cloud app that multiple people can contribute to with graphs, tables, text, and more. Microsoft revealed recently that Teams will act like the “scaffolding” to combine old experiences like Word and new ones like Fluid into a single hub.