MICROSOFT IS rumoured to be attempting to beat Slack with a new feature in messaging app Skype.
Skype Teams will try to take on Slack's gargantuan growth over the past few years that has made it the de facto communication tool in the hippest of offices.
Of course, Microsoft has a killer advantage that it will be able to incorporate Skype Teams (a presumptive title at this stage based on a report in MSPowerUser) into existing stalwarts like Microsoft Office and Skype itself.
Slack has already turned down a takeover bid from Redmond to the tune of $8bn, more than double its current market value, and this is its punishment.
Skype Teams offers the same 'channels' and direct messages as Slack, but the killer feature will be threaded conversations.
Skype Teams also incorporates many of the features of the current Skype for Business, including video calling and meeting scheduling in a public or private channel.
Microsoft Office 2016/365 already offers deep integration and bot assistants in its ecosystem, so it's a fair bet that we'll see this in Skype too with instant embedding of useful documents for live collaboration across OneDrive.
And don't worry: the 'Fun Picker' (awful, awful name - pray it's a working title) will be the home for emojis, gifs and memes. Can't think where they got that idea.
Whether or not businesses jump at the chance to use Skype for Teams over Slack remains to be seen, but the fact that it integrates with the Office 365 ecosystem could prove a killer feature for those wavering.
Skype Teams is currently being tested internally before an expected initial rollout to Office 365 subscribers and eventual free availability. There are no dates at present.
Google recently launched its usual understated Slack competitor Google Spaces.
And, yes, there will be cross-platform editions of Skype Teams for iOS, Android and Kevin's phone. µ
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