Microsoft will discontinue its Kaizala group messaging service in 2023

Microsoft launched its Kaizala group messaging service in 2018. In the following months, officials positioned the service as being specifically for frontline workers. Since then, I’ve heard from a number of customers who were confused about the differences between Kaizala and Teams. It looks like Microsoft has heard – and is now heeding – similar comments.

On August 26, Microsoft officials informed their partners that they plan to retire Kaizala on August 31, 2023. After that date, support and access to the service will be discontinued. Until then, current Kaizala customers will be able to continue using the service. But as of today, August 26, no new tenants will be onboarded to Kaizala. Instead, they’ll be onboarded directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calls.

According to a note that Microsoft shared with its Microsoft 365 partners, “many Kaizala users have Office 365 or Microsoft 365 licenses and have not fully activated them. Microsoft is positioning the Kaizala shutdown as “an opportunity for our partners to move users from Kaizala to Teams. To ease the transition, Microsoft will make Teams “exploratory” licenses available to Kaizala’s Azure Active Directory (AAD) customers so they can try out Teams for free for one year.

The Kaizala Project

Kaizala started as an incubation project of the Microsoft Garage in 2017. It started as a productivity tool specifically for the Indian market.

Since then, Microsoft had expanded its distribution. In 2019, officials said they planned to integrate Kaizala with Teams, while adding a significant number of new features to the group messaging product. In 2020, Microsoft announced that the integration of Kaizala into Teams was delayed and that the standalone Kaizala product would continue to be available as part of certain Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans.


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