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Microsoft announces Microsoft Teams, its very own Slack competitor

After several weeks of leaked screenshots and rumors, Microsoft finally announced Microsoft Teams at the Office event in Manhattan. Microsoft Teams is meant for businesses that are already knee-deep in Microsoft’s ecosystem with Office 365.

Teams is supposed to be a Slack competitor – it offers everything that Slack does, but there’s more. Microsoft has a massive ecosystem to leverage, and enterprise already uses a ton of Microsoft services – Teams taps into this, and integrates deeply with the Office suite and Skype to make communication and collaboration seamless across Microsoft products.

The idea

As an idea, Microsoft Teams isn’t anything new – communication platforms like this have existed for more than a decade and have always tried to “kill email” unsuccessfully. Google Wave – which wasn’t advertised as an enterprise product anyway – attempted to kill the email as well.

Slack, itself, has been unable to kill email, but it has managed to reduce dependence on it – the point of these services isn’t to kill electronic letters, but to be a faster and more efficient substitute for fast-paced communication.

Slack – today – has four million daily active users, while Microsoft Teams is quite literally mirroring the idea of Slack; the integration with services such as OneDrive, Outlook, Skype and the rest of Office suite is what Microsoft is hoping will sell it.

Microsoft Teams

The deal

There will, however, still be a market for Slack – not every business uses Office 365, and some smaller businesses would rather use Slack’s free tier. Microsoft Teams is also limited to your business or organization – this limitation might be a problem while collaborating with vendors and consultants outside of your business.

Microsoft – by restricting Teams to Office 365 subscribers – is not trying to take users away from Slack. Instead, it’s supposed to make Office 365 an even more compelling offering – you get everything that you already do, and it now includes a collaboration platform that integrates with everything else.

The preview

Microsoft is launching Teams as a Preview in 181 countries and 18 different languages around the world starting from November 2nd. It is included in all existing Office 365 enterprise and business subscriptions and is only a toggle away for Office 365 administrators.

Microsoft plans on bringing Teams to General Availability status by the first quarter of CY2017.

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