back to article Microsoft's chaps slap Slack chat brats with yackety-yak app

Microsoft has created Teams, an Office 365 chat app that is a direct competitor to Slack in the messaging sphere. Teams sits on top of Office 365 Business and Enterprise editions and allows users to create private or public online chat groups, communicate via Skype for videoconferencing, and link in Office apps and third-party …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    The Teams layer sits on top of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve and sets up a Slack-like interface to drop in data.

    Not main selling the point of Slack or its real competitors like the Atlassian XMPP offering. The real point is integration including libraries to integrate to various 3rd party systems. If MSFT has provided yet another closed variant of Windows Messenger they missed the plot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This would involve customers actually using the cloud version of O365, instead of buying O365 and continuing to use the local installs. Last I looked at it about 8% use the cloud version. Eventually that is going to catch up with MSFT. There is just so much you can't do, or can't do naturally, when everyone is using their local copies. MSFT is pushing the local installs though, while talking a cloud game, to prop up the need for Windows in the cloud era.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Office 365

        Given the confusing mess of 'social apps' on O365, most people will be struggling to find the correct application. MS are just throwing lots of half-baked cloudy stuff about in the hope that something sticks. I wouldn't touch any of this stuff for 2-3 years to see what still exists.

  2. Joseph Haig


    How long before the first cross-platform client? I'm already in 4 Slack channels (I guess others will "boast" of more) and I don't really want to have to start having multiple clients as well.

  3. djstardust

    Slack shouldn't worry

    MS pretty much screw up everything they touch, and this will be no different.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Slack shouldn't worry

      Except their products are the standard for word processing, spreadsheets, and Windows software development. Other than those minor edge cases...

      I wish I could screw things up so badly I increase my multi-billion profits each year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slack shouldn't worry

        It's like there was some sort of competitive barrier which limited peoples' options.

        Their days of making multi-billion profits on word processing are numbered though. There are better, modern options which are a fraction of the cost.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge


        Office and Windows are the only Microsoft products that have had any such influence. Nothing else that MS has put on the market has survived anywhere near half as long.

        So yes, MS does indeed screw up everything it touches.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how long will it exist as it currently does?

    Slack will either be massively successful and become the dominant player, or be bought by someone and folded into a another product, and that may be part of the Slacks game plan, just like Skype, Yammer, Instagram, MySpace, YouTube, Vine and so on.

    Realitically I want one place to check messages at work not having to think Skype, Yammer, Outlook (yes we are MS based like most places) , I've already stopped using Yammer as its such a PITA to check all the places where posts could be on it.

    1. Eddy Ito

      My first reaction was how is this really different from Yammer? As you say, PITA.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Rumour is that MS looked at buying Slack, but decided to build something themselves

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      I miss Google Wave, it did just that, pulled in data from other sources (e.g. could pull in twitter feeds, useful to see it customer had used twitter to ask a question to company twitter account /instead of going through support channels) together so nothing was missed, plus had its own dedicated chat.

      Used it a lot years ago at place I worked, great for working with off site team members and customers

      I assume the Google drawback was that it was not really a thing that could be monetized (beyond data slurpage) as not really suitable for chucking ads at you.

  5. Tom 38

    Depressing or uplifting?

    I can see why MS are trying this; MS do a full stack of business apps, fully integrated chat is missing. I can also see why this will fail - it only covers corps which have fully bought in to the MS ecosystem, whilst other offerings will support what you need to do regardless of what email server or version control your business decides to use.

    This leads on to the title: as I was reading the article, I was thinking "Hmm, this isn't for me." I thought about it some more, and the reason is that there are no MS products that I use anymore for any purpose, work or personal. Whatever MS do now is entirely orthogonal to my existence. So is this depressing, because I've disappeared in to a niche ghetto of computing, or uplifting, because I never have to concern myself with the Empire again?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Depressing or uplifting?

      If only they had a multi-platform messaging voice/teleconference/video platform and a separate corporate messaging system.

      Then they could rename and merge them in a way that they couldn't interoperate but it was difficult to have both on the same machine. And then make the install for the business one cause problems with Office365

      And then you solve the problem by "inventing" a completely new product.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Depressing or uplifting?

      Yeah, I think it will be a Yammer... you're heard it's a thing, never verified it personally though.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, another piece of useless shit bundled with O365 business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agree. They don't want to lower their price or move it fully to cloud so it is clean, intuitive (eliminates the need for Windows if no local installs) so they just keep adding stuff so they can say it is better than modern alternatives, but it is really just more stuff that is in the way and makes it difficult to use.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd be worried if I were Slack. Slack is relatively expensive when you scale it out company-wide. If Slack want to become profitable they need to (and are beginning to) come out of the grey/shadow IT estate, off individual teams' budgets and onto the central IT spend.

    I work for a silicon valley software company, where Hipchat has been in place for years due to it coming part-and-parcel of the Atlassian suite we use for issues and wiki. A bunch of engineering teams pushed for a switch/consolidation to slack, and finance said no. We'd be talking 7 figure sums minimum just for the software and we don't have that many employees!. If we were greenfield (i.e. no common chat apps), we'd have bought it. We think Slack is better than HipChat, we just don't think it's better *enough*.

    Now imagine you're on Slack's growing sales team, and you're suddenly facing down Microsoft literally giving away Teams as part of the Office/Windows/Exchange/AD package you're already buying, or the Lync/SfB software you already own, promising all sorts of Azure-powered search and analytics over the top. I know I'd be concerned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, it is the old MSFT bundle strategy. It will be difficult to compete with shops that use O365. Even if Slack is better, which it almost certainly will be, difficult to justify a budget when you just get a workable version which is included. I don't think Slack will just go away overnight, but no doubt it makes things more difficult.

      Although it seems like most of the companies using Slack are dev shops, start ups, generally modern companies, those companies tend to use Google Apps (G Suite) anyway.

    2. Grifter

      >> I'd be worried if I were Slack.

      No need. Two words; Comic Chat.

      That is all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS Me too..


  9. Anonymous Coward
  10. John Latham

    Slack isn't original...

    ....but it is very well executed. Every little thing is that wee bit better and more polished, and the sum of those is worth buying.

    Since Microsoft's product execution excluding the old Office reliables is invariably shite (see Skype or Office 365 through a browser) I don't think Slack will be losing any sleep.

  11. TRT Silver badge

    I too was

    Wondering about Yammer. Each team at my place seems to have its own favourite way of disseminating information.

    Yammer, Sharepoint, Twitter, Facebook, email, an internal website....

    When the systems go titsup, or when changes are being planned or when pensions or strategies or projects are being discussed you've no idea where it's being communicated.

    Utterly pointless.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why oh why?

    Beggars belief that anyone would pay for slack.

    One of my first aha IT moments was seeing people "chatting" in unix - around '93 - possibly before I saw mail, built into the OS no less.

    Been using free web based chat apps (icq) since before the great y2k hoax.

    And many since, so sure chat is cool.

    But somebody's pulled a fast one getting people to pay $7/user/per month for chat when mail is essentially free. Not to mention all the other options for chat. I really don't understand? Maybe somebody can explain to me?

    Kudos to slack for pulling that off but surely the penny will drop at some point and then it's over.....?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why oh why?

      "since before the great y2k hoax"

      That's a bit of a give-away about the state of your commercial knowledge. I had a client who insisted on using a non-Y2K updated accounting package for a couple of weeks into Jan 2000 (they didn't want to risk switching whilst they closed down their financial year). It was no hoax. For those two weeks the thing fell over on a more or less daily basis. We had the vendors dialling into a modem on the server to fix it on an equally frequent basis to sort out the database. Fortunately most businesses weren't so daft.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        "since before the great y2k hoax"

        Agreed, Doctor Syntax. Y2K was absolutely not a hoax. I was just one of the thousands upon thousands of people who poured days and months of time over more than two years combing over code with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that business operations would continue after that day.

        And I am certainly not the one who had the hardest customers or the most difficult code base to handle.

        If Y2K was not a catastrophe it is because of that effort, the first ever made on such a scale.

        I am proud to have been a tiny cog in that massive project that was definitely no hoax.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "since before the great y2k hoax"

          Three downvotes. Millennials!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why oh why?

        I'll take that on the chin since hoax is not 100% accurate. It was a throwaway line to give a time context, but created an unnecessary sidetrack.

        I would say that y2k was more than just a little oversold though.

        When the ratio between sold vs reality is so big, it makes it look a lot like a hoax/scam/etc.

        Sold - Civilization ending catastrophe.

        Reality - Some IT stuff was a bit flaky for a bit.

        Media hype at its best.

        A bit like slack.

        Sold - Life changing productivity tool.

        Reality - Yet another communication channel to monitor (and an expensive one at that).

    2. the-it-slayer

      Re: Why oh why?

      People pay for it because they've created APIs that are easily usable for integrating other products without having to partner in a closed relationship. They weren't the first, but getting new start-ups or deploying into SMCs is easy. Cross platform as well.

      Try integrating with IRC (yes, people could to a degree, but it was mostly file transfer based plugins), ICQ, MSN Messenger back in the day. They were built with consumer, not the pro in mind. WhatsApp/FB Messenger/SnapChat have taken over that market. The professional market was still open and Slack/HipChat came in to revive that market.

      I've personally used both. HipChat caught up quickly with stability being a sticky point (especially in Windows where that version of it was pretty unstable for a while).

      Pretty sure Slack will get cheaper over time. Running lots of architecture to support instant file uploads/sharing is difficult/expensive. Microsoft always comes in at last place and then dumps it after a few years when they haven't bothered to nurture it.

  13. ukgnome


    So microsoft have basically re-packed parts of skype for business then.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not as terrible as I expected it to be - has potential. Watch this space. Maybe.

    I've just enabled this on my O365 account to give it a go as an existing Slack user.

    Bearing in mind it's pre release.... there was a surprising amount of integrated apps already in place, including a few I didn't expect to be high priority. In short - all the 3rd party integration I currently use is already implemented.

    It works... the GUI needs alot of work, but hopefully that will come. Things like webhooks from other apps look messy, and Slack allows alot of formatting which doesn't seem to apply to Teams at the mo.

    I'm certainly keeping an eye on this...

    I was ready to post a very negative message criticising Microsoft for what a terrible job they would do - whilst there is along way to go - it looks like this has potential. Watch this space to see if they deliver....

    As for the slack full page ad - WTF Slack?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hipchat say hi

    Atlassian hipchat is of course the silent big player, not needing to play headline grabbing games, and offering robust functionality in a more price fruently structure

    Atlassian also if course allow you to host your own on site server, slack puts all your chats somewhere on the interwebz

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