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Last week Microsoft did a digital launch of their Teams solution that lives inside of their Office 365 Environment. While I did provide some initial coverage after watching the event, sometimes you need to give yourself a little time to let new solutions and products to marinate. That is exactly what I did.
Long and short, I came away from the launch feeling like the solution was solid in terms of offering an alternative to Slack for Microsoft users. However, I also felt that if Microsoft is focusing on Slack that they may be missing their best market opportunity.
What Microsoft has is a user base of nearly a billion whereas Slack only has about 4-6 Million users to date. Slack has been a game changer for real time and asynchronous communication within small businesses and startups since launching. However, enterprise use and adoption has been much slower as solutions like Webex (and Cisco Spark) along with Skype for Business have already been popular in the enterprise and seem much more appropriate to compete with one another than either directly with Slack.
This is why my belief is that Teams is both a game changing solution AND a me too product as the features and capabilities are almost exactly the same as the Cisco Spark solution, however, it’s a game changer because the solution lives inside the Office 365 environment, which already has massive user adoption that could quickly be roped into utilizing the Teams platform.
As companies are looking for ways to streamline collaboration without asking employees to take on more applications, Microsoft has a compelling reason to be in the discussion. Just don’t think for a minute that they are innovating the category. But in reality, with a billion customers that they can plug and play, do they need to?
In this brief video I explore the implication of the launch and its impact on the market.