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Microsoft Teams Launches To Take on Slack in the Workplace (theverge.com) 113

Microsoft today launched its team collaboration app called Microsoft Teams. The app, which competes with Slack, is available in beta starting today. Microsoft describes the app as a "chat-based workspace in Office 365." The Verge adds:Microsoft is, of course, integrating Teams deeply into Office and Skype. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are all built-into Microsoft Teams, alongside meetings with Skype for Business. For businesses truly living in a Microsoft world, there's also integration with SharePoint, Power BI, and Planner. Just like Slack, you can search across people, files, and chats, and Microsoft is using its Exchange integration to provide notifications. You can create tabs that integrate with other cloud services, alongside tailored channels and even custom memes throughout chats. Microsoft is also making Teams extensible with open APIs and its own bot framework. Microsoft demonstrated Twitter integrations at its event, where you can push messages from particular Twitter accounts into chat rooms, alongside the ability to create quick polls, or share custom meme images. One of the more interesting features is Microsoft's Skype integration, and the ability for chat room members to drop in and out of persistent video calls to gather for projects or a quick chat. Microsoft is allowing Office 365 customers preview the Microsoft Teams service today, in 181 countries. Microsoft plans to include Microsoft Teams in all Office 365 Business and Enterprise suites, with general availability slated for early 2017. Microsoft is also opening its developer preview program today, with 150 integrations expected at launch early next year, alongside 70 connectors and 85 bots.Slack, naturally isn't pleased with the existence of Microsoft Teams. In a full-page ad on the New York Times today, the company attempted to mock Microsoft. Update: 11/02 18:10 GMT: Microsoft says it doesn't have any plans for a free or consumer offering of Teams,
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Microsoft Teams Launches To Take on Slack in the Workplace

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  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:27PM (#53200213) Homepage Journal
    I doubt this is something my work would use because we're a Google Docs + Slack shop. Still, I wish Microsoft well in this. I like Slack but I want them to be on their toes and competitive, not just resting on "way better than HipChat" and calling it a day.
    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:51PM (#53200471) Homepage Journal

      not just resting on "way better than HipChat"

      Am I the only one that pretty much HATES all these chat/IM and other intrusive constant on, constant communication apps and devices at work??

      I've been fortunate enough to be able to finally disable fucking MS Lync.

      With 100M people a day constantly trying to chat, I can't concentrate or get a fucking thing done.

      I finally got everyone to understand, that even though it shows me gone/disconnected, that they can email me, or call if it is truly an urgent need.

      I do ok with email since the communication is asynchronous, but with IM...someone is constantly wanting to chat about something, usually inane or something that could be solved by them if they gave it 5 extra seconds thought....and often it is multiple people at once.

      Maybe I just don't multi-task well....but anyway, I find that for the most part, constant communication with IM, at least for tech work...kills my productivity and ability to concentrate and work.

      Am I the only one that hates this?

      • Maybe I just don't multi-task well....but anyway, I find that for the most part, constant communication with IM, at least for tech work...kills my productivity and ability to concentrate and work.

        With Slack, you can set Do Not Disturb and not get any notifications. I like working that way: I set DND and go into a 25 minute sprint. At the end, I look at Slack and see messages, dog videos, and whatever, then minimize it and go back to work for another 25 minutes.

        • I've done that. 54 years and still no disturbances from Slack or HipChat.

        • With Slack, you can set Do Not Disturb and not get any notifications.

          Do you know of a way to do this with Lync?

          I don't know of a way to leave it up and not get people connecting to you.

          You can set it to "Appear Away", but that doesn't stop someone from messaging you and a notification pops up....the only way I've found is to just disconnect it totally.

          I don't know of a DND option on Lync.

      • I don't even know what they are. Slack? I thought it meant goofing off, until today I find out it's a product. HipChat, it's that annoying thing on the side of Jira, and I can only assume it combines the worst of hipsters and chat programs in one dysfunction. Now Microsoft "Teams"? WTF does Microsoft know aobut teams, they barely have anyone there who knows how to program properly much less have enough of them to form a team.

        • I love how on a tech site we still have people who are proud of their ignorance of industry trends. Are you also that guy at parties who brags about not owning a TV and doesn't know any popular music?
          • I can remember when Slack was a Linux distro. The marketing hipsters presumably can't.

          • I'm an engineer. Social media stuff doesn't interest me, or the latest fads. Presumably if these "technologies" are important then we'll hear about them through normal channels without having to hang out in the same bars that novice programmers do. A thousand startups go bust every single day, why should I waste brain cells trying to keep track of them?

      • I sympathize.

        The golden age of computers, for me, ended in 2007 when MS replaced Office 2003 with the ribbon version and their "new improved" equation editor. I'm still hoping for the day when Libre or Open office make an equation editor that works like MS's old one.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        Maybe I just don't multi-task well....

        Well, don't feel bad; the evidence shows that nobody multi-tasks very well, and the ones that think they're great at it are worse than those who think they're bad at it.

      • Teams is actually pretty nice for me. It's different than just a chat app. It is a great tool for collaboration. I am currently trying it out for a few projects where I have to work with a few different people and am loving it. I like being able to assign ToDo lists, integration with OneNote (which everyone on my team uses) and of course the Microsoft Office integration. Combine that with audio/video meetings and screen sharing and it pretty much solved all of our issues with missing software.

        So for e

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:32PM (#53200263)

    Are doomed to repeat IRC.

    Add some pretty wrappers on top of IRC, make messages JSON if you insist on emjois. We've had bots for decades (for doing all sorts of everything). Live communication.

    Can someone please explain why Slack is different?

    • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:46PM (#53200415) Homepage Journal
      You're discounting the value of UI. You can drop Slack on a new employee and they can immediately click around and figure out how to use it. You and I like IRC and it's great. I also like Usenet, but that's a usability nightmare for anyone used to common web comment tools.
      • by u801e ( 1647927 )

        I also like Usenet, but that's a usability nightmare for anyone used to common web comment tools.

        Would that still be the case if one is using a desktop client application like Thunderbird or Windows Mail?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      IRC is fundamentally broken in that it requires you to be constantly online or you won't get the messages.
      People can't answer your questions if you went home for example (at least not if you log out of IRC or your client crashed).
      It is purely interactive, it does not work for semi-asynchronous communication.
      And no, IRC and email combined is still not a replacement (though I am using Skype as a reference, don't know if slack is any useful), since it doesn't allow you to switch to interactive communication at

  • by PessimysticRaven ( 1864010 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:33PM (#53200279)

    "Hey, you know what hasn't been super over-complicated yet? Interoffice communications. How can we further fuck this up?"
    "Let's make a version of Slack, but integrate it with Skype even more!"

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:55PM (#53200505) Homepage
    disclaimer: I am a greybeard admin in a dark cubicle in the basement.

    those who fail to understand *NIX are doomed to reinvent it, terribly. we have had powerhouse collaboration tools like IRC and jabber for decades now. Yet for some reason, in this foul year of our lord 2016, most admins do nothing more than cash a fat paycheck and install the latest vendor bloat. Whatever it was some C level or director saw at an airport billboard, or got stuffed into their carry on luggage during a gold course trade show, thats what we're punished to deploy and I for one am sick of it. Im sick of this cycle of endless corporate garbage that tries to re invent the wheel with more buzzwords.

    your collaborative tools should do one thing and do it well. you should spread the risk of outages by avoiding a single tool, not embracing it. And i cant believe im saying this, but in 2016 you should not be paying for voip or chat in the office.
    • The reason Slack is replacing IRC is because IRC is difficult for programmers to use.
      Not making that up.
      • by nimbius ( 983462 )
        pastebin, gitlab, github, gogit, gerrit, and a myriad of other programs should exist to help the programmer! chat is for chat...code collaboration should have its own dedicated ecosystem.
        • Or you can be in a Slack conversation with your team and say "hey, look at this...". Paste in a block of code. Slack renders it inline and syntax-highlighted. You discuss and move on to the next topic. That's vastly simpler than opening a browser to copy-and-paste a few lines so you can get a link to it.
      • IRC is difficult for programmers to use?! What?! I hope you are joking.

        • IRC is difficult for programmers to use?! What?! I hope you are joking.

          Not at all. It seems like a joke, but there are many many programmers who can't figure something out. If it's not on stackoverflow, they are screwed.
          MAN pages give them trouble.

    • by TedTschopp ( 244839 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @03:12PM (#53201143) Homepage

      I will say this much. There is a reason a lot of corporations are going Cloud. It's because there are a lot of folks in the basement in IT who agree with you, and there are a lot of folks in the rest of the business who disagree and the rest of the business is starting to win out as the Cloud providers are starting to be able to pass audits more often than the on-premise data centers.

    • by Manic Miner ( 81246 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @03:26PM (#53201231) Homepage
      The reason slack is great is exactly because it is IRC.. but WAY nicer to look at and *much* simpler to integrate with. TBH it's the integration ecosystem that wins the day. Writing bots to connect into Slack is super easy, and it already has "click to enable" integrations with so many other tools.

      Once it's all in once place it makes day to day work flow much easier and there are fewer context switches.
  • by CHK6 ( 583097 )
    Sounds like the Yammer dev team has been friend zoned hard. And based on the MS culture, they just learned this today. So lets be a little compassionate, an entire development team just found out their product was just a stand in friend for the cool kids.
    • In January, Yammer's data model will be moved over to the Office Graph, the same data model that runs Teams. So you will be able to use Yammer or Teams on the same data set. Yammer and teams will just be different views into the same model.

    • Yammer is facebook for businesses, not chat. This is different. Not that Yammer is particularly useful.
      • by CHK6 ( 583097 )
        Facebook for the enterprise? Sounds like Yammer has a severe identity crisis then. Yammer touts itself as team collaboration and the parent company Microsoft touts Yammer as social enterprise network.
        • Yeah, at least, when I used Yammer (was forced to use Yammer), that's what it was. I can't imagine how anyone would use it for serious collaboration, but maybe it had features I didn't know about.
  • ... if you are even slightly concerned about being locked into Microsoft.
  • good luck... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @02:30PM (#53200845) Homepage

    Considering that Lync/Skype Pro is an utter shitshow mess and that is why we switched to Slack for comms..... I have very little hope that microsoft can come up with anything

  • .... I thought that Microsoft was cracking down on employees who slack off
  • Aren't there plenty of IM options already? And doesn't Lync already do this? I haven't really looked because my company has had an excellent IM solution practically forever and IRC works great for discussions with people outside the company. I've heard about Slack because apparently a lot of people are using it to discuss OpenContrail, but after installing it on my phone I just didn't see the point.

    Aren't there plenty of interoperable XMPP clients that don't tie you to a single provider?

  • Looks like Slack is a bad replacement for email. Am I missing something?
    • Correct, slack is a bad replacement for email. What you're missing is that fish are a bad replacement for cars.

  • by laughingskeptic ( 1004414 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @02:48PM (#53200981)

    Is that they rely on IT Teams to deploy their collaboration tools. IT Teams perform an analysis and lock down everything that they can before rolling out the product.

    The locked down collaboration tool is unable to be used for collaboration and everyone finds some other way to get their jobs done.

    The last two companies I have worked for rolled out SharePoint in such a way that people quickly learned to not allow their documents to become captives in the "collaboration tool" and the ballyhooed sites became unused. If Microsoft does not plan on providing a free/consumer offering then this tool will be relegated to the same dust heap that most SharePoint servers have found themselves in and for the same reason: the people in control are not the users.

    • Ah, that reminds me of my name for Sharepoint. It is a "Document Coffin" where documents go to die...
    • by minus9 ( 106327 )

      SharePoint is where documents go to die.

    • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @04:54PM (#53201831)

      Is that they rely on IT Teams to deploy their collaboration tools. [SNIP] the people in control are not the users.

      The problem is a constantly moving pendulum.

      MBA: "We need to do better document and revision management than a shared folder because everyone overwrites my stuff!"
      IT: "Okay, here's Sharepoint."
      MBA: "Great! People will just figure this out, right?"
      IT: "It's a bit more complicated than that. We can do a one-hour training session in shifts, and have the whole company trained in 2-3 days."
      MBA: "We can't afford the downtime! Just roll it out, provide a cheat sheet, and prepare for the service desk tickets to come in!"
      IT: *shrug*

      A month later...

      MBA: "Sharepoint sucks because people keep locking documents and setting the permissions so only they can access them!"
      IT: "Users aren't respecting the policy, or don't know how to set them properly...which we'd have taught them all to do in the training class."
      MBA: "We don't have time for that! Disable the ability for users to set permissions!"
      IT: "...so, everyone has access to everything?"
      MBA: "Exactly!"

      A month later...

      MBA: "Sharepoint didn't protect our data! How did Steve in HR manage to take financial documents with him when he got fired?"
      IT: "...because we gave everyone permissions."
      MBA: "Why would you do that! Our information needs to be secure secure secure!!"
      IT: "...because management was having a tough time with the permissions and told us to revoke them all."

      The endless cycle of IT deployments is from convenient/insecure when things are annoying, to inconvenient/secure when hackers rule the news circuit, and back again when everyone is sick of 12 passwords and the budget is too tight for SSO systems to be implemented. Rules and procedures when the rollouts start, to the real-world workflows they impede because the committee who designed them didn't account for corner cases they didn't know existed.

      Sharepoint and Team and any number of other collaboration tools *can* be used effectively in an organization. Those who require their implementation, however, are unlikely to account for the fact that the super-smooth tech demo they saw at a conference assumed a use case that perfectly fit with the tool and its demonstration, as well as the fact that all the users spent hours and hours rehearsing that demo. When management thinks in terms of a rollout as a combination of research, acquisition, more research, implementation, even more research, training, and optimization...it is only then that any collaboration tool will work. They cannot work in a situation involving separate fiefdoms and immovable workflows or unwilling users.

  • So the same people who bundled Solitaire with Windows and who gave us an OS that crashes daily costing lost work and long rebooting times are now fighting slack in the workplace. Anyone else not expect this to go well?
  • I'm apparently the only person to actually try it here. With my token hipster slack-loving designer coworker. No joke, it's really, really nice. Great interface, nice features, good performance, and some superb and interesting integrations out of the box. nN excellent web client, and very good desktop and phone clients for all major platforms. It actually feels like the end game, connecting up a variety of useful, but disjointed MS products. Unlike slack, it has superb voice, video calling, and screen
  • Slack will no doubt feel the heat - probably a super nova blast. However, success of Microsoft Teams will complete depend on how well they integrate it with Skype, Office environments and how seamless it becomes. A behemoth like Microsoft might just destabilize Slack. You never know! Moreover, with Microsoft spreading its giant tentacles around the team messaging chat app, it's time Slack innovated even further. Happy times ahead!
  • What was the last successful Microsoft product? It was Xbox right? Anything since then? Before that it was Office, before that it was that popular keyboard and mouse, and before that it was Windows. I count four successes out of well over a hundred major product attempts. It's amazing they're still a company; those four successes are really extraordinary.

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