Today, Microsoft unveiled Teams, a 'chat-based workspace' that integrates with its Office 365 platform, promising a single hub of resources and communications for those working within an organization or on a particular project. Teams is also an extensible environment, and Microsoft said that it's already lined up over 150 partners to develop additional functionality for users.
Of course, in launching Teams, Microsoft has parked its tank on the lawn of Slack, which offers many similar features to those offered by its new rival - and it seems Microsoft is completely unapologetic about encroaching on its competitor's space.
Microsoft's corporate vice president for Office 365 marketing, Ron Markezich, told Business Insider that "little point solutions" like Slack "fill a very narrow niche". Keeping their focus limited has allowed such companies to enjoy plenty of success, he said, but added that such "applications du jour" simply aren't able to scale their offerings to larger organizations, and can struggle to provide enterprise-class security, and seamless integration with other software like Microsoft's own Office suite.
"Little companies come and go," he added.
Conversely, Markezich asserts that Microsoft has approached the issue of workplace collaboration and productivity with a mindset of integration, and with a far broader range of capabilities than its smaller rivals can muster. He said that this will allow Teams to scale to companies and workgroups of any size, and that the tight integration with Microsoft's wider ecosystem of software and services - which are already in use by many organizations, large and small - will give it a commanding advantage in the marketplace.
"We have it all covered," he claimed. "We are unique in that we are a great friend of IT and a great friend of the end user."
Markezich's comments came after Slack took out a full-page ad in The New York Times earlier today, the full text of which was published on the company's website. In it, Slack said it was "genuinely excited to have some competition", but nonetheless mocked Microsoft for having finally "come around to the same way of thinking" that Slack adopted "a few years ago" when it first launched its service.
Microsoft reportedly considered acquiring Slack for $8 billion, before deciding to focus instead on developing its own integrated solution.
Source: Business Insider