Slack might need to look over its shoulder now, as Microsoft has just unleashed its competitor, and that too for free. The ‘Teams’ software launched last year in a paid format, and was regarded as Microsoft’s reply to Slack software which has been a raging success at offices in the United States, in the process raking in huge revenues. Presently, Slack’s daily user count is about 8 million out of which 3 million are paid users. Microsoft’s push towards a free offering is however expected to give a real fight to Slack.
The free ‘Teams’ software is targeted towards small as well as medium sized businesses. The software will be totally free for initial 300 users of the organization, with each user receiving 2 GB storage, as well as 10 GB storage which the team may share. Other features that the free ‘Teams’ offer is availability in 40 languages translated automatically, free voice calling and group video, Microsoft Office integration, as well as well as ability to link as much as 140 other applications, including Evernote and Trello. Advantages over Slack include unlimited messages that can be sent, and the ability to invite people from outside the organization into the internal groups. As soon as the team exhausts the user or storage limits, they would need to avail the premium subscription, costing $5 for a single user, for a month. Premium members get the added benefit of being able to blur backgrounds during video calls, availability of more storage, as well as stronger security. Microsoft faces competition not only from Slack, but also from Facebook’s Workplace and IBM’s Lotus.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has also launched its Whiteboard application on Windows 10, with development in process for iOS and Android. The application lets users create notes on a virtual whiteboard, which can be shared and edited across different devices in real time. Whiteboard supports inking, which makes it easy to use with a Surface pen. Users have been using this application to chalk out presentations, as well as create collaborated tables. Even though it is not available on Android, Whiteboard, for the time being, can be accessed using almost all browsers.