Microsoft unveiled Teams as a Preview in November last year with great promises. Designed by the Skype team at Microsoft, Teams is an answer to Slack’s growth in enterprise communication. It integrates heavily with other Microsoft services, like Skype, and that’s where its strength lies.
Today, Microsoft Team have hit the General Availability status. It’s now available to all 85 million of Office 365 monthly active subscribers. Specifically, it’s available to Office 365 for Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plans.
Since the launch of its preview in November; Teams managed to garner the approval of more than 50,000 organizations, per Microsoft. The list includes Alaska Airlines, Cerner Corporation, ConcoPhillips, Expedia, J.B. Hunt, Three UK, and more.
Microsoft has also paid attention to the feedback during this phase and worked on adding more than 100 new features since its launch in November.
These features include mobile audio calling, video calling on Android with support coming soon to iOS and Windows Phone, email integration, security and compliance capabilities, deeper integration with OneNote, single sign-in support, and much more.
Today’s update makes it available to all Office 365 customers – except, of course, the personal Office 365 subscription plans – but it also brings a significant update.
Microsoft has announced integrations with just over 150 third-party services like Asana, Zendesk, and Hootsuite. Of course, if a service is not on the list, users may configure a Webhook and connect Teams with Microsoft Flow.
A team can now also be public, and it’s now possible to set up one-to-one meetings with scheduling support. In fact, there are so many new features that Microsoft made an entire video detailing everything new to Microsoft Teams.
That’s a lot to grasp. Microsoft Teams is packed with features, some of which seem obvious and makes us wonder why Slack didn’t think of them.
If you wish to learn more about Microsoft Teams or have a few unanswered questions to ask; the Microsoft Teams team (yeah, it’s annoying) will host an ‘Ask Us Anything’ session at the Microsoft Tech Community forums.
The AMA will begin at 9 AM PDT, on the 22nd of March. Click here for that.
Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 ecosystem, making the Microsoft subscription service a more compelling offering. However, not everyone wants the complete Office 365 suite.
Being part of the Office 365 suite also means that Teams has no free tier. Slack wins over Teams for smaller teams who prefer a free solution, albeit with no revenue gains.
Microsoft Teams’ UX Lead, Mira Lane, says that they have “had some discussions but right now remain focused on our huge user base.” That doesn’t inspire hope, but it does tell where Microsoft is putting its focus.
The team is still working on adding more features to Microsoft Teams; in June, this year, Microsoft plans to add support for guest accounts as well as an even deeper integration with Outlook.
The integration with Outlook and other Microsoft services is an important part of what makes Teams compelling for Office 365 customers. For those who are already part of the Microsoft ecosystem, the firm integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem makes it a better option than something like Slack.
Guest accounts will allow teams to invite people from outside an organization as a full-fledged member. That’s something Slack already supports.
Slack, today, has more than 5 million daily active users and 1.5 million paid accounts. Microsoft Teams have a long way to go before reaching those numbers. But, given the size of the market that these services target, there is room for a lot of growth.
Once again, the winner is the consumer.