Microsoft Teams: Redmond joins the funky workplace collab party

microsoft teams

Microsoft has today launched its answer to workplace collaboration tool Slack in the form of Microsoft Teams.

The company’s announcement comes just weeks after social giant Facebook launched its Slack competitor, Workplace.

Like Slack, the chat-based workspace allows groups to collaborate on projects through persistent chat threads and rooms, but also supports video calling by plugging into Skype, and group task completion by using Microsoft’s Office program suite.

Teams will also boast apps for MacOS, Android and iOS, including the web.

“At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the mission of helping people and organizations achieve more—and reinventing productivity for the cloud and mobile world is core to our ambition,” explains corporate VP of Office,

“We built Microsoft Teams because we see both tremendous opportunity and tremendous change in how people and teams get work done.”

 

Microsoft Teams takes advantage of Microsoft’s cloud and corporate services growth, and hinges almost entirely on Office 365. The company explains that Teams will be an integral part of the 365 suite, which also allows it to siphon other services like Microsoft Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerBI and its biggest draw card, Skype.

Unlike Slack, Microsoft Teams allows for video group chat using Skype

“Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own,” Koenigsbauer adds.

Microsoft Teams will be available in preview in 181 countries and 18 languages for those who have Office 365 Enterprise or Business subscriptions. General availability expected “in the first quarter of 2017”.

There’s no word yet on whether Microsoft will be planning a free-to-use version for smaller teams.

Andy Walker
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