Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageMicrosoft's ambitious Slack competitor now available worldwide

By James Walker     Mar 14, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has officially launched Teams, its enterprise messaging service designed to rival highly-popular app Slack. Teams is now available to every Office 365 subscriber on all devices, giving it an immediate potential audience of millions of people.
Teams was announced in November as a "chat-based workspace" that integrates with Microsoft's other productivity programs to become a hub for group working within a business. Powered by Skype and capable of linking to Office 365 apps including Word, OneNote, SharePoint and Power BI, Teams is Microsoft's response to Slack.
Slack has experienced extraordinary growth over the past few years, becoming the internal messaging app of choice at companies around the world. Its flexible pricing, simple and intuitive interface and strong connectivity with third-party services have enabled it to replace older communications favourites, like the plain version of Skype.
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft
Teams has obvious parallels to Slack that run further than its business focus. In many respects the interface shares a common design, although it also draws on elements of the existing Skype apps. The presentation of messages and channels is similar to Slack, messages support attachments and markdown formatting and there's robust options for notifications.
Teams also brings some unique features to the space. Each team can create their own workspace, surfacing the apps and information most applicable to their project. While Slack lets you add files as attachments, Teams can hook into Microsoft's wider project portfolio to directly reference OneDrive documents and let you start editing them with a single click.
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft
Microsoft has also made sure to include one of Slack's main selling points: third-party integrations. At launch, around 150 services are compatible with Teams, including bots from critical major companies like Asana and Hootsuite. Microsoft's "T-Bot," its own version of Slack's "slackbot," helps users get familiar with Teams' interface and the bots concept immediately after installing the app.
According to Microsoft, Teams is already being used by over 50,000 companies worldwide. Notable firms that have converted to Teams include Accenture, Alaska Airlines, Phillips, Deloitte, Expedia, Sage and Three UK. Now Teams is a standard component of Microsoft's 85-million user Office 365 platform, its audience could rapidly increase.
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft
For Microsoft, Office 365's existing value will be one of Teams' selling points. Slack has managed to revolutionise the way in which internal team chats take place. Rather than attempt to reinvent chat again, Microsoft is pitching Teams as Slack with the missing features implemented.
Things that would require the use of bots or manual interventions in Slack, such as opening a document referenced in a chat message or pulling in business analytics data, are easily achieved in Teams. Its interface can be setup to include customised tabs that link to cloud services and documents, making the app more versatile than Slack.
Teams will appeal most to companies already using Office 365. As it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the portfolio and forms part of the existing monthly subscription, it could be a more compelling solution than having to register and pay for Slack. As a pure chat app, Slack separates teams from their documents and data. This is the issue Microsoft is trying to solve, hoping to undo Slack's achievements through deeper integration with business files.
More about Microsoft, microsoft teams, slack, Messaging, Apps