Slack, the messaging app for teams, has recently been one of the hottest startups to see rapid growth in the enterprise communication ecosystem. It has grown from a measly 500k to over million daily active users in the past 8 months. And this sheer amount of growth, as reports suggest, had ignited in Microsoft the desire to acquire the messaging company for $8 billion, but in vain.
Well, there’s nothing to worry, because if they can’t purchase it, they’ll build it themselves. Yeah, you heard me right. Microsoft is currently working on another new addition to the Skype family — a team messaging app that will be in direct competition to Slack, reports news publication MSPoweruser.
Microsoft is gearing up to release ‘Skype Teams’, its own take on a messaging app for small teams and organisations. According to sources familiar with the development, Skype Teams will pack in multiple features that are similar to those you’ll find on Slack, including the ability to create groups or channels, share files or send private messages to each team member. This, however, can also be said to constitute the bare bores of a group messaging app and not specific to Slack(or HipChat).
Skype Teams is expected to have a sidebar that will provide you access to different features such as: the Activity tab for notifications, Chat tab for 1-on-1 conversations, Teams tab to switch between different groups, Meetings tab to hold your daily schedule and lastly, the Files tab that hosts OneDrive integration for seamless file storage and sharing.
Microsoft is going all in with Skype Teams and including additional functionality like Threaded Conversations, a feature that is currently missing from Slack. This allows you to select any particular message and reply to the same at the click of a button, and other can also join the conversation — much like the comments section on Facebook. The service, without doubt, will also feature an Office 365 integration, bringing all the nitty-gritties of Powerpoint, Word, and others to the chat application.
Since the team messaging app is using the renowned ‘Skype’ moniker, Microsoft isn’t leaving out any core features of Skype out of the mix. It will bring alongwith, the ability to make video and audio calls in a channel or privately. The app will also provide users with the functionality to set reminders and schedule meetings on the fly — a useful feature for large teams.
Now that you’ve learned about the basic uses of Skype Teams, you might be thinking that it is good but what about the multitude of third-party integrations on Slack? How will Microsoft compete with that?
Well, Redmond will probably start off with integrations from its own aforementioned services, but could add more third-party services going forward. Skype Teams will also pack in a goofy multimedia feature called ‘The Fun Picker’ — to allow you to add emojis, GIfs from Giphy, Memes, and a lot more to your conversations. The functionality of the same can be seen in the picture attached above.
Microsoft is currently testing Skype Teams internally, and plans to release it to registered Office 365 users before going public in the near future. There is no definite information on the launch, but the company is planning to roll out the team messaging app via the Web and Windows app. It will later expand the scope of Skype Teams and launch the app of Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
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