Microsoft is looking to take on team chat app Slack with their own version called Skype Teams. But whether Microsoft has a contender strong enough to cut into Slack’s runaway popularity remains to be seen.
According to a report by mspoweruser.com, Skype Teams will feel a lot like good ol’ Slack. For instance, Skype Teams will let you create smaller conversations within the larger team (in Slack, this is called “channels”). It’s one of Slack’s most powerful features today and a huge reason why so many users love the product.
But of course, Microsoft wants to bring some shiny new features to the table as well. One of the cooler standouts will be the ability to reply directly to individual messages à la Facebook comments. Integrations with Microsoft’s other products come as a huge bonus. You’ll be able to make video calls using Skype technology and Office 365 will be integrated into the platform so people can share Powerpoints and Word docs with ease.
They’re also one-upping Slack on the sticker options and while this might not be one of their most pivotal product highlights, we have to say it looks pretty neat. Like Slack, they added a search bar to let you search for reaction GIFs using tags like “sad” and “bored”. But they also beefed up their library of options with emojis, memes, and more.
Skype Teams will come as a web and Windows app and a mobile version will be made for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
But this isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried their hand at streamlining office communications and we’re left wondering how exactly this new platform will fit in with their ecosystem of productivity products. And what will happen now to their existing enterprise communications tool, Skype for Business?
What is clear is the challenge Slack presents to Microsoft in the office productivity space. Just a few years on the market, Slack has already made a name for itself as an indispensable communications tool for some big-name businesses. In June last year, the company celebrated a milestone reaching over a million daily active users. Then by May 2016, they eclipsed their own achievement with 3 million daily active users and 930,000 paid accounts.
It was even rumored earlier this year that Microsoft had offered to acquire the company for $8 billion. They ultimately decided against making the deal and placed their bets on building out their own technology instead.