Microsoft calls its Slack competitor Teams a "chat-based workspace" within Office 365. Employees can direct message or be grouped together to discuss a topic and share and collaborate on documents.
Unlike the fairly staid Skype for Business instant messaging platform, Teams comes complete with emojis, gifs and memes.
Teams further distinguishes itself from Slack by supporting threaded chats. A common criticism of Slack is that chats can become disorganised, so finding a way to identify chats within chats could be a handy feature.
Microsoft announced a range of new features for Teams in March 2018. These include in-line message translation for conversations involving multiple languages, Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices and mobile sharing of live video, photos or device screens.
Microsoft also unveiled cloud recording for meetings with automatic transcription and timecoding, enabling staff to read captions, search within the conversation and playback parts of the meeting. In the future, the company plans to add facial recognition to attribute remarks to specific meeting attendees.
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The chief advantage of Teams though is that it naturally integrates with fellow Office 365 products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as Slack for video conferencing with Sharepoint for file sharing. Teams is available for Office 365 Business subscribers as a free add-on.