Microsoft Corp launched a messaging system for businesses, Microsoft Teams, on Wednesday, putting it in direct competition with fast-growing startup Slack and Facebook Inc’s Workplace product. The new software will be part of Microsoft’s Office 365 services, a cloud-based software suite that has more than 85 million monthly active commercial users. Slack, whose customers include CBS Corp, BuzzFeed, universities and the US government, had over 4 million daily active users in October.
San Francisco-based Slack took out a full page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, addressing the entry of Microsoft Teams. “We’re genuinely excited to have some competition,” Slack said in the ad.
Microsoft Teams support threaded conversations, something that’s missing from Slack as of now. This means users can reply to a specific comment and start a conversation thread there. Since Skype is deeply integrated in to Teams, the service allows users to participate in voice and video conferences as well.
“Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, in a blogpost.
Workspaces in Microsoft Teams can be customised for as open APIs are available. There’s Tabs that give users access to recently used documents and cloud services. The Redmond based giant is adding full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework as well.
Microsoft said a preview of Teams will be available to Office 365 commercial customers with enterprise or business plans, starting Wednesday. All of the data for Office 365 customers is encrypted. “Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 commercial customers with one of the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5. Microsoft Teams will also be available to customers who purchased E4 prior to its retirement,” Kirk added.
With agency inputs