Despite a varied portfolio of collaboration services, Microsoft is still struggling to field a strong competitor to enterprise group messaging apps like Slack and HipChat. It has SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer, but none of them is really a direct competitor to the slickly designed, GIF-stuffed and bot-laden crop of modern messaging applications. That may be about to change.
The company is building Skype Teams, its first product to truly compete against hot group messaging apps wherein, users will be able to chat in different groups within a team. Skype Teams will also feature ‘Threaded Conversations,’ that users can use to reply to a message on a channel by simply clicking on the reply button. The importance of this particular feature is that anyone else can join the thread whenever they want. The teams will also be able to make video calls in a channel or privately. This makes scheduling online meetings significantly simpler especially for large teams.
Screenshots that have been posted online by MSPU show that Skype Teams’ interface resembles the one being used by Slack and offers similar essential features, such as it private messages, but also group conversations, file sharing, and support for emojis and GIFs.
App navigation will be possible with a dedicated sidebar that will include shortcuts to the main sections of Skype Teams, among which Activity for the latest notifications, Chat to quickly access your conversations, Teams to jump from one group to another, and Files to see items shared by contacts and in OneDrive.
Microsoft’s upcoming Skype Teams will be available on all devices, so before you ask, yes, there will also be a Windows app, including one for Windows 10 Mobile phones. The service will also be available on the web, but also on iOS and Android with a dedicated app.
With that, Microsoft could have a fair shot at winning over business users who are looking for a group communication solution. It’s in line with Microsoft’s overall vision of creating products and services that help people be more productive. The company already has several products that do similar things. Skype for Business (previously known as Lync) is the company’s offering for enterprise telephony, videoconferencing and instant messaging, including group chat. Yammer, which Microsoft acquired in 2012, also offers instant messaging, along with a Facebook-style news feed for sharing information.
Then there’s SharePoint, which lets teams operate sites where they can post blogs, collaborate on documents and do a whole host of other things. While all these address some component of what Skype Teams is trying to do, none of them compete directly with the hot products in this space. One of the advantages that Microsoft would have in building Skype Teams is that the company already has the infrastructure to build videoconferencing into the app. HipChat just added videoconferencing to its desktop, and Slack is still building it.
It isn’t clear when Skype Teams will launch or how it will be priced; MSPowerUser notes that it will likely become available to Office 365 subscribers before it’s opened up to the public.
Source : MSPoweruser