Microsoft will be revamping its Teams app store, and Zoom has announced new payments from its app development fund, with the two companies competing for developers to make their collaboration platforms more valuable.
Microsoft and Zoom have each sought to make their products a central part of an employee’s workday. To do this, the two companies hired third-party developers to add functionality to their platforms.
Microsoft announced this week the redesign of the Teams app store. Changes to the store include several ways to present third-party apps, bringing them to the attention of workers and businesses most likely to buy them. The company said the upgraded store will be rolled out this month.
The new store will feature a carousel at the top of the landing page to highlight apps. The store will frequently refresh the carousel to display different offers. Users will see a collection of apps curated by Microsoft, a list of the most popular on Teams, and industry and function specific app categories. The company will also make recommendations based on frequently used applications within a company.
Microsoft said it plans to make it easier to install the apps in a future update, but did not say when it will release the feature.
This week, Zoom announced the second round of payments from its $ 100 million app fund. Thirteen companies received the money from the last payment, including the Allo whiteboard app, the Grain and Mio meeting recording and transcription app, which allows Zoom Chat users to send messages to their colleagues on Teams, Slack, or Webex. Other funded apps allow employees to play team building games, help HR conduct job interviews, and use AI to prepare agendas and update CRM data.
In April, Zoom created the app fund to pay developers to build software for its market. The company announced the first recipients in August.
The fund disburses between $ 250,000 and $ 2.5 million to its selected companies. Zoom did not specify how much of the $ 100 million it distributed in either round of funding.
Zoom isn’t the only one paying for app development. Cisco and RingCentral also fund startups to build products for their collaboration platforms.
Microsoft and Zoom both opened their platforms to third-party apps in 2020, and each company has more than 1,000 apps in their store. By allowing developers to build apps for their platforms, Microsoft and Zoom can meet more uses for their products than they could on their own.
Mike Gleason is a journalist specializing in unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily News, Walpole time, Lawyer Sharon and Medfield Press. He also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwest Vermont and served as local editor of Room. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.