Microsoft's Teams lights solitary candle, hipsters don't notice

Slacklike turns one

Woman looks bored wearing birthday hat. Photo by Shutterstock

Microsoft's Slack competitor Teams hit its first birthday this week, trumpeting some big numbers and a slew of new features.

Teams, which began rolling out to Office 365 subscribers last year, is Microsoft's answer to the Slack messaging platform.

Unlike Slack, Teams unsurprisingly does not seek to dispense with corporate email, opting to integrate messaging with office apps (such as Outlook) as a collaborative tool.

Microsoft proudly proclaimed "200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages use Teams" while Slack only claims 50,000.

However, bosses at Slack will doubtless briefly look up from their craft beer-splattered MacBooks and mumble something about nine million active users in response.

The Teams team has taken steps over the last few months to deal with user complaints about the product, with oft-requested-feature guest access making an appearance in March.

Allowing users without corporate accounts access to Teams is regarded as essential for cross-organisation collaboration.

Teams usage should tick upwards in the coming year as Microsoft gently nudges Skype for Business from its perch.

To soften the blow, Microsoft has announced some new Teams features to arrive at some undefined point in the future, possibly the second quarter of 2018. Or perhaps not. Microsoft has form when it comes to delays in its collaboration product.

Eventually, it will be possible to shunt recordings of meetings into Microsoft's cloud along with automatic timecoded transcriptions and inline message translation.

Background blurring of video calls will allow Team users to pretend they are not really calling from the pub.

Finally, Microsoft's unloved assistant, Cortana, will make an appearance in Teams-enabled devices, having singularly failed to capture the consumer market.

It is not clear if this will mean constant eavesdropping in the office. ®

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