As a possible precaution against antitrust investigations by European Union authorities, Microsoft is said to be planning to allow customers to disable the “Chat” feature in Microsoft Teams for consumers through Windows Settings. This change has been found in Windows 11 previews and is expected to be released soon.
While Chat can now be unpinned from the taskbar, it cannot be completely removed from the operating system. However, based on hints in the beta releases, it seems that Microsoft will soon make it possible to remove Chat, which could be related to a new geographic API.
Microsoft released the Chat app with the release of Windows 11 to make it easier to communicate with friends and family using the Microsoft Teams platform. The Windows 11 shell and taskbar were seamlessly integrated with the Chat feature, giving users a convenient way to communicate for free outside of work.
However, Microsoft Teams has struggled to gain traction with users, while Facebook and WhatsApp are more widely used for personal communication. To address this, Microsoft created the chat feature as part of a larger effort to remain relevant in the consumer market. Instead of renaming Teams, Microsoft changed the Teams app to include chat-specific features. Another attempt to move the current Teams app and attract people looking for additional communication alternatives was to add “Chat” to the Windows 11 taskbar.
Microsoft will allow us to uninstall Chat
According to recent rumors, Microsoft is now developing a new feature or option that will allow users to uninstall Chat from the operating system. This is evidenced by the inclusion of “RemoveChat” references in the Windows 11 preview released in May. Once invoked, this feature completely removes the Chat program from Windows 11, along with all references to it. Users can now simply delete the chat shortcut pinned to the taskbar, but the RemoveChat command suggests removing the functionality from the operating system altogether. It is still unclear whether Microsoft plans to unbundle the chat functionality in certain areas.
This likely decision by Microsoft may be included in the final production version and is likely motivated by a desire to avoid potential antitrust attention from European Union officials. The idea that Microsoft would either disable the feature by default or offer a choice to do so in certain locations, possibly focusing on Europe, is further supported by the relationship between “RemoveChat” and a geographic API.
Microsoft is also considering separating Teams from Office 365 or Microsoft 365 for businesses. These actions come in response to complaints from rivals such as Slack that Microsoft is engaging in anti-competitive behaviour by bundling Teams with various Microsoft products, giving the company an unfair advantage.