Microsoft is the latest company to go after Slack.
A couple weeks after Facebook unveiled its Slack-like messenger service, called Workplace, which allows teams to easily communicate, video call, share files, and stay up to date in one place, Microsoft has unveiled a similar product called Microsoft Teams. Here's what you need to know.
What is Microsoft Teams?
At an event in New York City, Microsoft demoed Microsoft Teams, which it described as a new chat-based workspace in Office 365. It's integrated with Office applications, including Skype, and it uses the Office 365 cloud. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Group, making it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, Microsoft said.
Teams is about two-way interactions via threaded, persistent chats. Microsoft does not intend to replace Yammer or Skype with it.
How does Microsoft Teams work?
The digital workplace offers threaded chats. Although team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, there is the ability to have private discussions. It also works with Skype to offer voice and video conferences. It even supports fun elements like emojis, stickers, GIFs, and custom memes. These features are a big part of why Slack has become the go-to service for teams and workplaces.
But what makes Microsoft Teams different is that Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, and Delve are all built in, and it's backed by Microsoft Graph, which enables intelligent services. From what we could see in Microsoft's demo, the app has a menu bar on the right that provides access to activity alerts, your chats, teams, meetings, files, and settings.
From these options, you can engage with team members and access used documents and cloud services.
Is Microsoft Teams safe?
Microsoft said all data in Microsoft Teams is encrypted in transit and at rest.
Which platforms does Microsoft Teams support?
Microsoft Teams is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and web platforms - just like other Office 365 apps.
When will Microsoft Teams be available?
Starting 2 November, Microsoft Teams is available in preview in 181 countries and in 18 languages to commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans. General availability for all customers is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2017.
How much does Microsoft Teams cost?
Microsoft Teams is currently included the following Office 365 plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3, and E5.
According to ZDNet, Microsoft decided not to make a consumer edition. It has no plans to do a free tier and is building on a base of 85 million paid Office 365 users. If you want to get access to Microsoft Teams in the cheapest way possible, buy the Business Essentials version of Office 365, which costs $5 per user per month (or $60 per user per year).
Want to know more?
Check out the Microsoft Teams website for more details.