Microsoft goes after Slack with new Teams service

Wade Massey
November 4, 2016

The chat service also offers a hub for teamwork, which brings together the functions within the Office 365 service such as voice and video meetings.

Teams can also be customised for differing sets of staff, as each business unit will likely have different needs and requirements from other work-place teams.

In a statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized that their objective is to "empower every person and organization with the technology to be more productive as individuals and in groups".

Nadella describes Teams as, "a chat-based workspace...created to facilitate real-time collaboration while building up the institutional knowledge of a team".

Microsoft Teams supports persistent, threaded chats, visible by default to the entire team, although private discussions are also available. Teams is created to make chatting with coworkers fun and easier, whether they're in the same office or spread out across different offices.

For those who are deeply rooted in Slack, it may be tough to switch to Teams and there are still those out there who are anti-Microsoft that may not want to use the service. The popular office apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams will work on all platforms with apps available for Windows 10, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and browser-based web clients.

Keep in mind that an Office 365 subscription is required to take full advantage of Microsoft Teams, however, which means free alternatives aren't going to die off just yet.

In the lead-up to Teams' announcement, Slack, the biggest direct competitor for Teams, ran a full-page in ad in The New York Times (also published on its site) offering Microsoft advice about the enterprise chat experience and making the case for its product. All conversations are encrypted at rest and in transit and are hosted at data centers in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Microsoft plans to roll out Teams in the first quarter of 2017.

Microsoft Teams is customizable, because no blueprint or universal tool exists for collaboration, and no two teams or projects are the same, according to Nadella. Second is Microsoft's suite of apps in Office 365 which can be used in Microsoft Teams. We're genuinely excited to have some competition.

If you are a developer willing to start building for Microsoft Teams, you can get started here.

Slack has been embraced by many as a more efficient way for teams to communicate than email, which is not designed for instant communication. They both offer an open and fluid environment or platform for people to chat.

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