Microsoft setting up ‘Skype Team’ to beat Slack

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 03: A skype logo is seen at the Microsoft pavilion during the second day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 3, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The annual Mobile World Congress hosts some of the wold's largest communication companies, with many unveiling their latest phones and wearables gadgets. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

There has been news making the rounds that Microsoft is interested in buying Slack for $8 billion. Slack is a messaging app for teams, which has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent times. Those who are familiar with the matter claims Microsoft is recreating the Skype brand to compete with Slack.

For Microsoft, Skype Team is going to be their messaging apps for teams. The app will bear similar features with Slack. For instance, with Skype Teams, there is what is called “channels” which allows you to chat in various groups inside a team. The users will as an added advantage be able to talk with others on the team through Direct Messages on Skype Teams.

Also coming on Skype Team is Threaded Conversations that allows you to reply to messages on a channel with just a click of the reply button, which also allow others to make inputs at their own time. This is almost the same with what can be found in Facebook comments, etc.

This is not to say that Skype Teams are not going to be exposed to the features on Skype. They will be able to make video calls privately or in a channel. Another feature Microsoft is bringing is that it will allow the teams to make schedule online meetings.

Files can also be shared in the Skype Teams. You might say these are basic features and not new, but with Skype Teams, other services can be engaged so that the chatting experience will be more interesting. It is expected that Microsoft will allow bots which is its Bot Framework to work with this Skype Teams. Another thing is that there will be room for Office 365 integration where Word, PowerPoint, etc will be present to allow for smooth user experience for businesses.


Now, coming to Slack’s Giphy Integration, Microsoft intends to set up “The Fun Picker” which allows for emojis, Memes, etc.

A sidebar will also be featured in Skype Team to make for easy access. There is also an Activity tab that shows the latest notification and a Chat tab for your conversations. Also include is a Teams tab where you are allowed to make a switch between teams. There is also a Meetings tab for meeting notification and the Files tab for files from OneDrive and Skype Teams.

Skype Teams will share similar experience with Slack. What this means is that it will be easier for a user that has used Slack to use Skype Teams. However, there is no provision for Office 365 or OneDrive in Slack, which business owners may need.

Microsoft’s intention is to make Skype Teams available on all device and is planning to release a Windows app and web. Skype Teams will be made available for mobile devices like iOS, Android and Windows phones.

There are no dates scheduled for the launch of the Skype Teams yet, but the app is being tested internally. There are indications that it will first be made available to Office 365 subscribers before others can join.