Microsoft Teams collaboration tool launched amidst Slack broadside

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Microsoft has announced the launch of Microsoft Teams, a “new chat-based workspace that further enhances the collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Office 365.”

The Redmond giant argues Teams is built on four ‘core premises’; the idea of a “hub for teamwork” across the whole of Office 365, persistent, threaded chat with team conversations visible to the entire team by default, customisable experiences, and global scale and advanced security.

“We’ve designed Office 365 to meet the unique needs of every group, with purpose-built applications – like Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer – that all naturally work together,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Office in a statement. “And now with Microsoft Teams, Office 365 accommodates all workstyles.”

Sound familiar? In anticipation of the move, Slack took out a full page advert in the New York Times offering some ‘friendly advice’ and opening with the barb that it’s the human side, rather than the features of a product, which matter most.

“Communication is hard, yet it is the most fundamental thing we do as human beings,” the letter notes. “We’ve spent tens of thousands of hours talking to customers and adapting Slack to find the grooves that match all those human quirks. The internal transparency and sense of shared purpose that Slack-using teams discover is not an accident. Tiny details make big differences.”

Also taking aim at the ‘walled garden’ approach Microsoft is noted for – or rather, used to be noted for – Slack also noted its view regarding the importance of an open platform, with more than 750 apps in the company’s app directory.

“We are deeply committed to making our customers’ experience of their existing tools even better, no matter who makes them,” it reads. “We know that playing nice with others isn’t exactly your [modus operandi], but if you can’t offer people an open platform that brings everything together into one place and makes their lives dramatically simpler, it’s just not going to work.”

Ouch – although it’s definitely worth noting that Microsoft is opening Teams up to third party solutions in due course, with Zendesk and Asana being cited in the press materials.

According to an analysis of applications for business use by ARC back in April, Slack got an average score of 64.5 out of 100, beating the likes of LinkedIn, Messenger by Google, Yammer, and Skype for Business – the latter two, of course, owned by Microsoft.

The preview of Microsoft Teams is now available to Office 365 commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans. You can find out more here.

 

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hnrindani
3 Nov 2016, 10:56 a.m.

Microsoft is doing fantastic in providing desktop solutions however I see a dip in its mobile application development stack with more and more companies moving away from accepting projects on windows applications. Though windows phones are powerful, their user interface is what makes it difficult for users to adopt the phone.

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