The niche of team productivity apps is exceptionally interesting. Enterprises often had to rely on workaround measures for team chats in the past, particularly before the rise of services such as Microsoft’s own Yammer.
After the release of Slack, everything changed very quickly. Slack simply exploded in the market and was adopted by thousands of organizations worldwide. In short, it helped form a new era for the productivity app industry.
In November 2016, Microsoft unveiled the aptly-named ‘Teams’ as a direct competitor to Slack. Admittedly, the service initially looked like Microsoft’s ways of entering the industry in a not-so-subtle way. The move was particularly confusing for some as the tech giant already had a stake in the industry via Yammer.
However, it seems that Microsoft had some very clear and concise goals in mind for Teams. The productivity app has so far gathered a lot of positive reviews from its early users. Comparisons to Slack are inevitable but it looks like Microsoft Teams is more than adequate to stand on its own.
At its core, Microsoft Teams is not much different than other productivity apps. In fact, its interface should be familiar to anyone who has used a service like Slack. Rooms are located in the left-side panel, incoming messages are on the right.
Other than that, there are plenty of differences to be found here. Teams offers a huge array of options, a fact which may initially seem overwhelming to new users. Of course, this can be considered as a staple for Microsoft as showing something an Excel spreadsheet for the very first time is an equally daunting experience.
According to Microsoft, Teams will feature about 150 integrations with various third-party services such as Hootsuite and Trello. As is standard in the niche, Microsoft Teams will also feature a host of customization options, including chatbots and added services.
These facts will most likely not be enough to convince dedicated Slack users to shift platforms, especially given the fact that the service requires a considerable investment. This, however, is where Microsoft may have a winning formula as Teams is a free addition to Office 365 subscribers.
Going off Microsoft’s own figures, there are about 85 million monthly active users on the service. Microsoft is betting big on its existing user base and the fact that more than 5,000 organizations signed up for the preview bodes very well for the company.
For now, Microsoft has not revealed any details on whether Teams will be available outside the Office 365 ecosystem or not. The company has been trying to push its subscription model further than ever before so that seems unlikely, at least in the near future.