Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365 (office.com)
300 points by algorithmsRcool on Nov 2, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 240 comments

As somebody working in the healthcare industry, this is the killer feature for me:

>Q. What level of security and compliance does Microsoft Teams support?

>A. Microsoft Teams is expected to be Office 365 Tier C compliant at launch. This broad set of global compliance and data protection requirements includes ISO 27001, ISO 27018, EUMC, SOC 1 Type I & II, SOC 2 Type I and II, HIPAA and FERPA. Microsoft Teams also enforces two-factor authentication, single sign on through Active Directory and encryption of data in transit and at rest.

The last time I'd looked into it, Slack was explicitly not HIPAA-compliant and therefore a non-starter for my team. We've basically had to stick to a combination of Hangouts for general chat and internal email for any HIPAA-covered data, so this would be a big win for us.

Wow that is huge... HIPPA is a massive headache for industries that have typically been very "blue collar" Ie. EMS/Firefighting. We are always looking for ways to communicate more effectively, especially for our most at risk citizens (coordinating agencies). This could be an almost real-time notification system... hmm.

Adhering to industry compliance specs definitely opens the possibility of a captive audience.

Or serving unserved organizations, or both, depending on how one looks at it.

I mean, like I said above, my team would love to be using Slack, but it's legally impossible for us to use in a way that would improve our current workflow. And honestly, that's not just limited to Slack; it's not at all unusual for me to run into slick new technologies and products that I'd love for us to be able to use, but things like "not breaking Federal laws" get in the way.

Sometimes it does take an 800lbs gorilla like Microsoft stepping in to get those techs our way because Microsoft's customer base has to worry about that sort of thing.

For many organizations, running something like RocketChat inhouse might be an alternative...I mean, how many of Slack's features add most of the value?

Then you have to provision hardware to run it and someone to set it up and admin it. And deal with backups and data retention, etc.

Healthcare IT teams tend to run ridiculously lean. There's a much stronger business case for paying a few bucks per user/month than take up expensive and generally highly limited sysadmin time rolling your own.


Chat's may or may not be deemed business records by a prudent attorney and therefore it may be possible to not retain them for reasons similar to those under which computer logs are not maintained. That might make complying with non-realtime HIPAA requirements simpler.

Relative to IT requirements, the trend is toward much higher ratios of machines to IT staff due to virtualization and orchestration. I suspect that over time, healthcare organizations will get more containers.

Anyway, I was not thinking just about healthcare...nor thinking that lack of slack is one of the significant areas in which improvement is needed in the now.

I think the broader point is that in any industry that's heavily regulated enough that built-in regulatory compliance is a selling point, is it really worth the hassle of taking on that potential liability yourself when it can be outsourced for <$100/year/user?

I have not read the terms and conditions for Microsoft's Office online services, however, I would not expect that Microsoft explicitly assumes much liability for regulatory compliance on behalf of customers under them. I tend to doubt that Microsoft would be a first choice target for litigation by a reasonably prudent lawyer or regulatory body these days.

Anyway, there are organizational cultures where free is almost too much money per employee per year...cause I've worked in a few.

O365 for government can meet far more stringent controls than HIPPA -- which is very easy to target.

I did a very large O365 rollout where Microsoft was willing and able to meet really difficult compliance targets like IRS Pub 1075 and CJIS. They absolutely will meet those and other standards.

That could depend on the lawyers your organization has. Not to say they do or don't include indemnification, but those providers who are capable will often times offer indemnification terms, when they don't do so out of course, if you have the proper team asking for it.

And usually large orgs with those kinds of liability questions will have the necessary resources to make those requests.

If a hosted service is HIPAA compliant, by definition, that means the host is willing to execute a Business Associate Agreement and is directly responsible for various compliance requirements.


Responsibility is orthogonal to indemnification regarding claims of liability.

Having worked briefly in the HIPAA compliant EMR sector, I am honestly surprised by this. Last I checked HIPAA rules were quite lackadaisical when it came to securing patient facing web portals. But I am very out of date and had never thought about applying HIPAA compliance to inter-team communications...

Glad you pointed this out! Really makes me look at Teams in a different (decidedly more positive) light.

Not that I saw it negatively...it just seemed kind of neutral, like Yet-Another-Microsoft-Product that is entering last year's exciting new market.

That's good to know. Microsoft previously had a product called Microsoft Lync, which was HIPAA compliant (and was used as the chat protocol in my hospital system). It later became Skype for Business - although we still use it as Lync. I'm not certain if Skype for Business was ever considered to be HIPAA compliant however.

It is they only changed the branding the executable is even called lync.

Could you tell us what desires you have and what issues the healthcare industry is hitting with computer based tech ? As an ex computer fanatics I wanted to make medicine all digital and smooth (naive), I see it's not there, yet I'm not in Health so I have no idea what are the reasons. I expect "world chaos" to be part of them.

If I'm understanding your question correctly, the single biggest obstacle in healthcare informatics today is interoperability. The industry grew up in a pretty ad hoc way and the result is that closed-off silos of data are pretty much the norm; every vendor has their own ideas about how data should be handled, and getting different systems talking to each other is a full-time job (my job, coincidentally).

HITECH and the ACA have forced the industry to start making meaningful steps toward real interop, but I'd say we're at least a decade out from it being less of a nightmare than it is now.

I agree. Integration is exceedingly complex. Data is stored and interpreted differently in every system, even if they share the same EMR, due to configuration differences in workflow, data setup, software versions, etc.

You can't exchange data without thoroughly understanding the clinic workflows that generated it or will be using it. It's all time-consuming and hard.

I work on a patient portal consuming data from the EMR, and even that is tremendously complicated to present medical data safely and correctly to a person.


Sibling comment mentioned wanting to work in Health IT. The big market problem in healthcare is small companies doing good innovation (usable patient-side workflows, modern clinical tools, shiny things) running into the consolidated, massive EMR systems. The first question when they approach a healthcare system will be "Are you integrated with Epic/Cerner/whatever?" and if not, they will be sent away. Or be ready to embark on a very long, slow process and integrate deeply into workflows, data APIs, etc.

When a system consolidates their EMR (driven by real needs but also Meaningful Use incentives), it forces standardization and special one-offs become much harder. Getting a doctor interested in using a new device or software means working within the whole EMR - the staff doesn't have the time or leeway to go use tools that don't integrate, just because a doctor really wants it. That doctor needs to align large groups, get agreement, and it's going to take a lot of time and money.

It all comes down to interoperability/integration. Building cool stuff in healthcare is really easy since most of the tech in use is outdated and slow moving. But interoperability - required to sell into healthcare systems - is really, really tough.

> "Are you integrated with Epic/Cerner/whatever?"

The irony being that those tightly inegrated solutions tend to be some of the worst offenders in terms of being a nightmare for interop and walled-off silos. But they're popular because the pieces they do offer generally work.

And totally agree that the opportunity is there for highly targeted applications that cater to specific healthcare niches because the downside of the huge top-down systems is the fact that they're more generalized. But you have to be able to integrate them into that larger EMR environment for them to be realistically useful.

That said, the facility I'm at now (midsize, ~400 beds) took a best-of-breed approach and... well, there's a reason I say current interop is bad. It's appealing on the clinical side because groups like surgery or the ED or even endo get to run software designed to cater specifically to their needs, but the backend integration ends up being a huge exercise every time anything changes.

I thought it was more than data interchange. Like more than inefficient commputer programs/interfaces, costs, lack of competition from entry barrier due to high amount of legislation/regulation.

I'd love to work in Health IT, what's your company's name ?

I work in health care and to me the worst thing is that there are a lot of disjointed systems you need to bring together. As a lowly developer I don't feel I am qualified to make a judgment about the security aspects but the price the company has to pay for a breach is huge. So it's the uncertainty knowing whether what you are doing is right or not.

Personally, I tend to have more anxiety over making changes that could potentially kill someone than about data security. :)

That said, that's another area where the industry is in pretty bad shape, but that's a far longer rant.

Yeah, killing people is another problem :-). My point is that it's really hard to make judgments whether you are doing well enough be it data breaches or harming people.

There is a tremendous amount of development in the healthcare industry right now. 2015 Edition does not specifically name FHIR but is does hint that it may be named in the next iteration. FHIR does seem to have the promise of unification and interoperability.

FHIT seems very ambitious.


A good entrance to FHIR is this root page: http://hl7.org/implement/standards/fhir/

With Resource List, and Examples good places to dive in a bit.

My favorite little piece of FHIR is that each resource has a maturity level based real world implementations. Eg "FMM1 + the artifact has been tested and successfully exchanged between at least three independently developed systems at a connectathon whose results have been reported to the FHIR Management Group"

Since lot of people is talking about HIPPA compliance.

Have you heard about https://teamstitch.com/product/ (nope, not affiliated in any way)

When it came out it was basically a copy cat of Slack, with HIPAA and other security standards compliance. (now they've updated the ui)

This is exactly why Slack is not a defensible product.

1) The UI/interaction/UX can (and obviously will) be replicated, which has been slack's biggest value proposition.

2) There's no "stickiness" for companies. None of the data in chat is really a "system of record" and the switching costs are minimal. 3rd party bots/integrations are the only thing that really make it sticky for companies.

3) The IP isn't really all that interesting. Chat based systems have been around since day 1 of the TCP/IP protocol and it's design patterns are pretty well known. In other words, the tech can be replicated.

4) It's not solving a core technology problem for most business without introducing additional problematic externalities. http://www.businessinsider.com/i-used-to-be-obsessed-with-sl...

> None of the data in chat is really a "system of record" and the switching costs are minimal.

That's not true where I work. Slack's history is full of valuable information that we use all the time.

Honest question, is it possible to export all of the chat history from slack?

One of the (only) things I like about Skype is that message history is held in an sqlite database on the local machine. So I have a record of every single message for the last 5 years.


What do you mean, not defensible? As in, it shouldn't exist, or there's no way it can be profitable long-term?

I think it's a great product experience, but as you say, without adding more value, it can be replicated by Zulip/Rocket.Chat/Mattermost/Cisco Spark/Microsoft Team/ you name it.

As in it doesn't have a moat.

They meant not profitable long term implicitly as it is easily replicatable

Microsoft Office doesn't have a moat but they had better product and engineers than the competition and turned that into phenomenally successful business.

I think you are overly discounting the advantage for Slack having done this for 4 years already.

>>Microsoft Office doesn't have a moat

You are joking, right? Or do you actually believe that pretty much anyone can trivially develop similar tools that have feature-parity?

Load up Office '97 on a computer today and compare it to Google docs - even 20 years ago Office was more fully featured than their most viable competitor is today (real time collaboration excluded).

Then think about all the good work that was done over the last 20 years, and how that really solid base turned into the best mobile office solution.

Office has an extremely deep moat and their continued O365 efforts are deepening it.

But it isn't based on anything besides creating a very, very featured product. Microsoft created their own moat. Same is possible with Slack. 4 years into its lifetime, one could have made same argument against MS that their word processor had no moat.

You forget the massive amount of plugins and conversational bots that you can plug into slack that are ready to use right now.

Slackbots are easy to write. I suspect they're not deployed in a business valuable way from off-the-shelf offerings. Microsoft only have to make their own bots easy to write.

When Office 365 came out, I mostly compared the price to Google Apps and didn't really think Office 365 brought that much value.

Now, you can have a Google Apps, Slack, Trello, and Evernote alternative for your business under one subscription. Even if you choose the plan for installed Office applications on your computer, the price is still much more attractive than having to get a subscription for every one of the competitors.

Edit: They even have a Zapier and IFTTT competitor:


Whats funny is that Google Wave was basically a direct predecessor to these types of apps and they killed it before the technology really had a chance to catch up to the vision.

Yes! I'm so glad somebody else remembers Wave, it seems to have disappeared into the dustbin of history. I loved Wave before it was killed, and while I know a lot of people still hold grudges over Reader, Wave is the axed Google product I miss most. The fact that you could have multiple threaded conversations in the same chat room was one of the best features for me, and Teams seems like the first descendant to have that. That alone is a plus over Slack.

Ah, wave.

I wish instead of just throwing it at the world, hoping for people to figure out what to do with it, Google had used it as infrastructure to build a variety of applications.

The problem with Wave was that it was too open ended for most people to figure out. Those who did figure out, loved it, and were burnt when Google shut it down. I still don't think there is a good equivalent to wave at the moment.

> The problem with Wave was that it was too open ended for most people to figure out. Those who did figure out, loved it, and were burnt when Google shut it down.

Yeah, this tallies with my experience. I was in two separate Wave teams (Waves?), one for a six-person software team and one for a large-ish social group of non-technical people. The software team took to it immediately and loved it; the social group was mostly baffled and used it sparingly.

If Google had only iterated on it they'd be a in a great spot right now, but I guess eventually every big technology company has their "Microsoft moment" when they kill a product only to see that category take off years later.

Thinking about it, i feel that Wave shutting down was a turning point for Google.

It was built on XMPP, and allowed anyone to spin up their own Wave server that could talk to any other such server (iirc).

At the time Google (and also Facebook) used XMPP as the backend for their messaging service, and was even working on a extension for video and voice communications (libjingle?).

But then all that was scuttled, and they moved the messaging onto the proprietary Hangout. I guess they could not figure out how to monetize a distributed system like XMPP and instead switched to putting everything in a silo.

Then again, Hangout was tied closely to G+, and G+ was the brainchild of a ex-MS exec that was described as a "cookie licker" (meaning he would try to tie whatever other projects he learned about into his own) after his departure from Google.

The turning point was when Larry Page became CEO. For years Google tried to beat Facebook with open specs/protocols like XMPP, but there was also Activity Streams and others (PubSubHubbub). None of those really took off.

I think Larry Page made the company more product focused and a few successes, like Hangouts, "validated" that it was the better approach than focusing on open protocols.

My recollection was that it never even saw a proper 1.0 release before it was killed a year after announcement. I'd love to read an insider post-mortem of what happened there.

> they killed it before the technology really had a chance to catch up to the vision

Nah! Google wave would be a massive failure even today. Google simply does not understand other people. Why on earth was Google Wave "invites based" ? Imagine Slack being invite based do you think it would have worked ?

If Google Wave was an enterprise produce Google should have marketed it that way. They did not. I did not even understand WTF it was in first place.

I dont want my boss to see the reply I am drafting for heavens sake. It was like they built id to show how good engieers they were.

I never really thought of it like that, but you're absolutely right! IF only they'd followed through and tweaked their vision.. of what google wave was, or pivoted in the right way.

If I remember correctly they never actually had a long term plan to keep it alive.

wave I really miss this stuff...

> Now, you can have a Google Apps, Slack, Trello, and Evernote alternative for your business under one subscription.

Actually you made a great case for why these guys should partner, integrate their products in a clean, natural way, and then make it as easy as ever for existing and new customers to hop onto all at once -- combo SaaS.

> When Office 365 came out, I mostly compared the price to Google Apps and didn't really think Office 365 brought that much value.

Opposite here. Forced to use Google Apps to write documents and it's a pain in the arse. Wish I had Office.

PowerBI and Skype PSTN/PBX and OneDrive/SharePoint too.

> Now, you can have a Google Apps, Slack, Trello, and Evernote alternative for your business under one subscription.

Long term/philosophically this is is unwise, because you're locking your business' data into one company and then it dictates the direction in which your ideas can expand.

Google Apps aside, all these apps are developed by highly creative and agile (fast) companies.

MS is just an executive switch away from being a monolithic elephant once again..

Oh don't worry. I'm sure the first right of refusal agreements Microsoft has with their larger customers will ensure plenty of people will switch from whatever else they've been using, whether they like it or not.

By that measure, SharePoint is also an alternative to a lot of things, but it is universally reviled.

But your comment made me wonder about the problem of building a company which becomes a feature of a bigger competitor: I wonder what the folks at Slack, Trello and Evernote think about this new competition. Is this going to actually compete head on?

What is the Trello alternative?

Microsoft Planner I guess

kantree.io I actually changed from Trello premium to Kantree.io on the strength of it's offering and the easy import from Trello.

The only problem is the products I have tried on mac (OneNote, OneDrive) & Android (OneNote) were very buggy/slow/missing features in other platforms.

I wish it was otherwise. As you said, they do have a good suite of apps at a fair price

Really? OneNote lacking features?

probably means the buggy part. i worked at microsoft and one note worked great on windows but was shit on my mac. it wouldn't even sync properly

There are lot of missing features too - See "Key OneNote Features from Windows Missing on Mac" http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/essential-guide-onenote-mac/

It was extremely slow and buggy on android. It wouldn't sync

This is part of [1] why I won't be getting another Macbook when work gives me a notebook, and go back to Windows instead. Our IT relies on a lot of Microsoft stuff (Office, Exchange, Skype for Business, etc.) and that works much better under Windows. 1

A notable feature that we're missing on Macs is recording in Skype for Business (aka Lync) meetings. We only have two Windows notebooks in our team of 20, so we have to rely on them joining every important meeting to capture a recording.

[1] Another part of the decision is WSL, which might enable me to abolish my work VM.

Have you used it lately? Works very well on my 10.11.x Mac... I also use a Asus Vivo note 8, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (my old work horse) and they all sync perfectly... at least now they do.

Every day I use OneNote on windows, Mac, and on my iPhone and iPad. One Note is truly a first class citizen on all of those platforms, and it was on Android, too, last I checked a year ago before I switched to iPhone.

OneNote is great on the Mac! Your experience is so different from mine that I'm guessing you used it long before I did. Try it again because it's beeen great for at least a year.

Strange choice of hero photo to promote a chat-based virtual workspace: a team of people sitting around a table, thus having no need for the product.

As a Microsoft marketing person this really made me laugh :-)

As a fellow marketer can you comment on what the decision making process would be like for something like a product hero image?

GSuite has a similar image. I think the idea is teams are collaborating over the internet https://gsuite.google.com/

GSuite seems to be suggesting that they're in different cities, due to the different buildings in the background. It's also full of things you'd want even when sitting at a table with people--docs, sheets, etc.

I think they're marketing how you'll feel when you use the product, not what it looks like to use the product.

Maybe the people sitting around the table are not a team, but friends who work at totally different organizations, and are currently using the product to stay connected to their teams?

I personally don't choose products based on their marketing photos, but that one seems fine to me. The group are obviously interacting and engaged in their conversation, which is probably what the marketing people were trying to convey.

it's a metaphor?

The cheapest plan for Office 365 that includes this is the $5/user/month, which undercuts Slack's pricing.

It also includes a bunch of other stuff that I'm far less excited about; I wish they had gone with a more a la carte approach. I'm not confident that I'll be able to easily integrate this with the identities that I routinely use.

Also, it seems like an unwieldy name -- "I'll 'team' that to you", or "let's discuss this on 'team'"? I guess you'll just use "chat" and assume that context conveys the remainder.


>Consider your typical Chief Information Officer in the pre-Cloud era: for various reasons she has bought in to some aspect of the Microsoft stack (likely Exchange). So, in order to support Exchange, the CIO must obviously buy Windows Server. And Windows Server includes Active Directory, so obviously that will be the identity service. However, now that the CIO has parts of the Microsoft stack in place, she is likely to be much more inclined to go with other Microsoft products as well, whether that be SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, etc. True, the Microsoft product may not always be the best in a vacuum, but no CIO operates in a vacuum: maintenance and service costs are a huge concern, and there is a lot to be gained by buying from fewer vendors rather than more. In fact, much of Microsoft’s growth over the last 15 years can be traced to Ballmer’s cleverness in exploiting this advantage through both new products and also new pricing and licensing agreements that heavily incentivized Microsoft customers to buy ever more from the company.

I once worked for a very big company that decided to use Microsoft SharePoint to unify all the forms of communication that had developed over the years. They hired a Microsoft consultant to help them out and I was basically her assistant during the entire process. This consultant was pretty expensive.

What I remember most is that she acted more like a salesperson than an actual help at getting SharePoint working in the company. She'd relentlessly suggest features or solutions that happened to require a newer version SharePoint, and obviously there were all sorts of other Microsoft solutions that would ease the company's pains.

It seems like a very clever approach, but I couldn't help but hate the role she had, and it made me want to avoid Microsoft at all cost... or at least until I'm not the one affected by the decisions she pushed the company towards, I guess.

Microsoft is rapidly moving away from this type of situation. You buy 365, always have the latest version, have nothing on prem to maintain, can beta test everything in the cloud before general release, AND most importantly, youre not getting an empty infrastructure/platform that isnt useful out of the box.

Sharepoint by definition required an architect or someone to flesh it out. Microsoft is taking on that role of turning a skeleton into a body.

Their pricing is more like (a made up example): Exchange $2, Sharepoint $2, Skype $2, OR Everything + BI, Teams, Groups, Planner, Flow, PowerApps and whatever else they make/dreamup this week for $3. It makes no sense to buy 2 things from Microsoft over the bundle. The pricing is even more apparent when you look at their mobile management offerings, and its cheaper to buy 4 products than it is to buy 2. So now that you are "getting Teams and Planner for free" you might as well try using them before shelling out for Slack and Trello. Plus compliance worries are handled.

Also, it's fairly easy to "leave exchange and sharepoint document libraries" if your setup and permissions arent complicated. Microsoft is pulling an Apple, and abstracting the filesystem away so you use Planner directly to store planning data, in a proprietary, non exportable format, instead of having a storage locker to store files. These "freebies" exist to make it more painful to leave the ecosystem once you have them up and working. That said i am guessing most companies dont have a ton of buyin to things like Planner or PowerBI yet.

They are really stuck on this "team" term it seems. Probably something they plan on bundling with team foundation server/services

It's tied to modern groups in exchange online a team is anyone in your group is on your team. Your chose a channel inside of that.

or Microsoft Squanch

I really like the fact that Microsoft stresses the security of this product:

    Broad compliance standards support
    Data encryption at all times, at-rest and in-transit
    Multi-factor authentication for enhanced identity protection
The only other thing I think they didn't mention in the feature set that Slack is much better is 3rd party API integrations.

I've found Slack's API integrations to be mostly used as distractions from work, but that may just speak to the team more so than Slack

If you don't find its API integrations useful, then why use slack over just about any other communication software?

For us, the API integrations are huge. Slack is our one-stop hub for finding out what's happening throughout the company with integrations for PM tools, Monitoring, Alerting, Deployments, Build Systems, Support Emails, AnswerHub, GitHub, etc.

And of course, giphys.

It's general chatroom infrastructure where you don't have to be invited to join a chat room. @heres , good mobile clients and so on are part of the package.

I am guessing here, but outside of "developer teams" how many businesses and people give a crap about 3rd party API integrations? They wouldn't really have a use for them unless someone happened to be a hobby programmer on the side or something. I guess MSFT could create a marketplace for said bots/integrations....

Microsoft is definitely building a marketplace for bots and integrations.

Two really unique things I think this product does

1) The use of GIFs/memes. While this seems silly, it is actually a big deal because it lowers the formalization of communication. Having used this product, you just have much better free flowing conversation and many times these "fun" items help you get the message across significantly better (ex. asking for updates or bumping things can now be done in a funny way).

2) Creation of a horizontal matrix. Having tabs is awesome because it makes information more compartmentalized and helps keep the priority the same on each screen. This essentially adds an extra layer of depth into the product without overcomplicating things (and imagine one day having ability to live edit documents on a tab, while chatting and seeing metrics). Keeping a multi-dimensional communication design model is very scalable to mixed reality too.

Essentially I see MSFT Teams as "Slack meets Google Hangouts meets Email", and see it doing very well from a product sense. However, their business strategy of bundling with O365 will not help them hit SMB, which is a conscious decision I think they made. I would have actually used Teams as a trojan horse to capture stickiness and then upsell users to O365, but overall still excited to see where this goes.

FWIW, Slack offers Giphy integration.

I've used the Giphy integration, and unless I was using it wrong it is horrendous. You can just write /giphy <word> and it will pick a random gif for you, and most of the time they are completely irrelevant.

The tabs also relate you to other offerings in o365 one note, planner

Does it offer search of past messages?

It seems to, yes. [0] It also looks like you can filter on date, team and channel, attachments, who it's from, messages where you're mentioned.

[0] http://imgur.com/DSmXg41

Microsoft is charging $6/month/user for online office/teams/1tb storage/50gb email storage/skypebiz/conference calling

Slack $7/month/user just for teams :///

anyhow i hate office so i am gonna stick to gsuite..

Slack is going to be a crazy $30/person/month when the enterprise version launches next year !

Currently it costs $12.50 per enterprise user per month.


not trying to insult you or anything but microsoft probably doesn't really care. make most of their money from contracts with companies with thousands of people.

Yep, not to mention entire cities and state governments. Also, the entire Military and Military Industrial Complex...

Whether or not Slack has the better product or not, Microsoft will blow past them in terms of paying customers. Slack has 1.25 million paying customers as of now. Microsoft announced it signed a 400,000-employee comppany on launch day. They can easily sign Coca Cola, Macy's, McDonalds and Unilever in a matter of months, which could bring them at most 10 million paying customers. Microsoft has the power of existing customers to connect to. This is very much the Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories situation but for team communication.

The point might be moot but there is a difference between enterprise licenses and active users. In some big multinational business a subscription with a service like Office 365 signed and paid for at the parent corp level often means dick. Services like this are sometimes a negotiable value add so it may not even be on the radar in terms of implementation for the parent corp. Even when it is many child companies/divisions have a lot of latitude to choose how they collaborate because the bureaucratic corp IT groups are often unaligned with the child companies and focus on cost cutting. Ultimately they are inherently focused on providing a least common denominator solution which often ends up sucking equally for everyone.

To put it another way, look at something like SharePoint. Microsoft will happily tell you it has a ton of users. They might tell you that it's quite profitable. But SharePoint is a just a terrible piece of shit that everyone hates but IT departments drag everyone to it kicking and screaming.

So subscriptions will get purchased, contracts signed. Microsoft will make money. But will they take mindshare? Maybe Slack won't be able to differentiate enough. Time will tell but today employees actually want Slack.

WHAT was Slack thinking writing this?!


Is this the worst ad in the history of advertising? HUGE publicity for Microsoft, with a schoolboy level of condescending, passive aggressive nonsense. Not sure what they were thinking with this one, especially with an opening line doing nothing but praising their competitor.

The confidence(arrogance) is astounding.

They are copying Apple [1]. It's supposed to demonstrate strength, since most competitors try to pretend that the competition doesn't exist. To me it always came off as really dumb and self-important in the most cringing of ways.

[1] http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/jobs-apple-welco...

Yeh, we know how that turned out for Apple in the 80s/90s :)

Off topic note here: Apple forecasts a "logarithmic leap". I have never heard that term. Logarithmic growth is sub linear and doesn't seem like something akin to a leap. Usually you would go with "exponential". Just seemed like odd wording.

Logarithmic growth is a more accurate description of the actual growth and on a limited interval grows faster than linearly.

It's symbolic of the typical winner-take-all markets in the IT sphere, unlike the term exponential, which is constantly misused and inaccurate in most cases (except, perhaps, for Moore's law on a limited time interval)

Well they weren't wrong, growth leveled off to nothing. More a reverse logarithmic graph.

That was a much older, dumber Apple. They would never do that now.

They wouldn't do it now because they're not the underdog. When you're big, you try to look small. When you're small, you try to look big.

The "do it with love" part is especially funny as their support doesn't actually give a shit what their customers think or feel. They'll happily give you absolute bottom-of-the-barrel effort canned copy-paste responses to carefully written and considered bug reports, indicating the agent neither actually read nor remotely understood what you were writing about.

Slack doesn't have a box to stand on to tell others how to treat people.

That part was almost unreadable, it was so cringe worthy. "Made with Love" movement is a meme in itself at this point.

At the risk of sounding like a grump, something about the emojis in software movement really aggravates me. When I see "Made with love" or the hideous heart eye smiley, something makes me just not want to use the software that's showing it.

I agree. I guess it is to seem more like buddies, I think it is strange dynamic. I am paying for the product, I don't want an emoji response.

Strange, I was very impressed with Slack support.

After experiencing the train wreck that is Skype, I'm definitely not getting my hopes up for another Microsoft chat app.

I'm not saying that MS' support will be any better. Just that "you get an actual person to talk to AND they actually know a little AND might even help you if your issue is simple enough" doesn't quite make the grade for "treats customers with love".

I had the understanding that Slack never used bots when responding to support requests...

Sometimes even biological people fail the Turing test.

This is the opposite of my experience

Microsoft's support, in contrast, is outstanding you see. As a bonus for sticking with them, you will even get an upgrade of your perfectly functional Windows 7 computer at some unspecified point in time based on checking a box with manipulative exploding offers, and be left with a large brick (voila! magic!).

You're about 4 months late on that, since the Windows 10 upgrade offer expired in July.

Ah yes, forget the Microsoft of 4 months ago. The Microsoft of today would never do that!

Yes. When the Windows 10 offer expired, there was no incentive left to advertise it. Windows 7 users that want upgrades now have to go to a store and buy said upgrade.

But don't worry, you can continue parroting that line for another 20 years like "embrace, extend, extinguish". It's not like people make mistakes and learn from them. That never happens.

I believe the issue we are discussing is customer support. MS used manipulative techniques to supply this supposedly amazing offer. No way to refuse the so-called "offer", which of course leads to repeated nagging to add a ton of impedance to those who would have otherwise resisted upgrading, finally culminating in unexpectedly bricking the computers of some users who were perfectly happy with what they already had paid for.

I had a old Windows 7 laptop which I updated to Windows 10, and promptly the touchpad right click stopped working. I didn't really need that laptop at that point, so I just threw it away and also decided that I am never going to use Windows OS after that point unless forced to for work purposes.

To me, this "offer" takes top spot as the current gold standard for shitty support.

Or they go here and pinky-promise they use the magnifier: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgra...

It sounds like you had a bad experience. I found Slack support to be pleasant and very helpful when we migrated from our previous solution to Slack (I haven't needed to interact with them since).

That was actually how I found out about Teams to post this. Slack didn't do themselves any favors with that post.

All Office 365 customers who are on Slack must be seriously considering moving over to Microsoft Teams right now. They are basically letting them know they have an alternative.

Yep, I had never heard of Teams but now am going to consider it for my startup.

What's even more amusing on their online posting, they have hidden responses:

> The author has chosen not to show responses on this story. You can still respond by clicking the response bubble.

So not only is the arrogance higher than ever, you can throw cowardly in there as well.

I didn't appreciate this either...and am curious if the "image" of disabling comments was considered.

I've got an evil grin on my face just thinking about Microsoft's response to Slack. I hope they respond and I hope they don't let me down -- there's a prime opportunity here.

I want "Dear Slack, lol."

They should just respond with a giphy gif.

I vote for Ace Ventura, "I have eexxxxxorcised the demons!"

"Dear Slack, resistance is futile."

Haven't tested Teams yet, but very shrewd move by Microsoft. They lead in the productivity suite with Office/Skype/Sharepoint etc in enterprises and a slack competitor which tightly integrates all their services is a wonderful addition. As someone mentioned on this thread, they could have picked a better name "Let me microsoft team it to you" sounds weird.

"Post it on Teams" I don't think people say "I'll slack it to you" either.

I sometimes hear: "I'll send it on Slack" which sounds alright to me.

The phrasing reminds me of the Zune product: "Let me squirt you a song". That is not a good thing. :/

HIPAA compliance...nice, just killed all the "secure email/chat for healthcare" startups out there, since this is coming from the makers of Outlook/Office/every enterprise machines' OS.

Wonder how long until Slack upgrades their compliance.

So I just tried the desktop app and it’s terrible. Fuzzy fonts almost everywhere, feels sluggish. It keeps nagging about the mobile apps.

And then it popped up randomly over an hour after closing it, happily informing me that I got the latest updates. Thank you, but no.

The web app refuses to work with anything but the very latest browsers. Why? Probably no reason at all. It also doesn’t work in IE, which is kind of sad. It also consumes humongous amounts of memory, as does the desktop app.

The avatars, blurry too, of course, are embedded as Base64 Data URIs. Why?

All in all this is yet another collaboration tool from Microsoft. It feels very rushed.

Whatever happened to Microsoft's billion dollar Yammer acquisition? Has it already been added to the company's write-off fall of fame?

Hmm, kind of looks like it, doesn't it?


Is Skype next?

The headline is misleading, it is only that Yammer is not a standalone product anymore but is part of the Office365 suite.

Apparently the whole yammer team was working on this, since it's still not possible to edit and update post on yammer. Which is a pain to write longer posts with.

Seems like a shame that it is bundled with the overhead of Office 365. Makes Slack feel like a lighter-weight option.

What overhead? If you don't want the other stuff don't use it.

Yeah I don't get it.

Even if you completely ignore the non-Teams aspect of it, you are still paying less money than for Slack.

Unless by overhead you mean whatever is the exact opposite of overhead.

Would it be much cheaper and easier to activate if it wasn't bundled with Office 365? I think that's where aarpmcgee was getting at.

In any case, this looks like a much better value proposition than Slack. However, I can test Slack in a second by going to their website. If I want to test MS Teams, I need to think about Office 365, sign up, find where to enable it, etc. Right now signing up for Slack is friction-less.

I believe that they are offering the tier of Office 365 that includes this (along with all kinds of other stuff) for less than Slack costs per month.

It takes nearly 2 seconds to switch from Teams to direct messages, that is inexcusable.

Teams is a webapp or a 68mb download. All of the other heavy lifting looks like sharepoint online in the background (onenote notebook, shared files.)

Yeah. And missing a free plan that couldn't enlarge the user base. You have to pay for every short-term contractor. It's not a good deal.

We're a team of five people all remote and in different time zones. We use Slack, and its been great, but we also use Office 365. Teams with its wide integration with all the different MS products is really cool. What I see missing here is mobile apps, and 3rd party integration. Once those are available we'll have no reason to pay the extra $300 a year for Slack.

This does have mobile apps: https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads

That would have been a huge omission.

FYI - click on a channel's "..." and click on "connectors". Tons of 3rd party integrations + custom webhooks. (Disclosure: I work for MSFT, but on Azure, not on Teams/Office/etc.)

why office 365 vs google docs?

There are many reasons really, but the most important one is that we're a .NET shop, and run our stack on top of Azure. Office 365 integrates well with Azure and everything MS. AD and Exchange management, SSO, MSDN, etc.. It all just works.

not op but office365 includes desktop versions of word, excel, outlook, etc and they are faster and have more features.

Not all license types include the desktop apps. Lower-tier licenses are web-only.

Pretty sure Web only became totally free a couple years ago. All paid version include desktop version too.

Excel is still superior to Google Sheets.

In many ways comically so, even over the Mac version of excel which is arguably worse than the Windows version.

I won't trust Microsoft to make the Mac version of this product as good as the Window's version. There is a long history of Office development that supports this conclusion. If you use Mac in your workplace, probably best to stay away from MS stack

From what I can tell, it's written in Electron. I assume they did this so that they could share the code base between desktop (win/mac), ios/android/winphone, and web -- keeping the features sets the same on all platforms. VS Code is the same way and that works beautifully on Mac. I expect that same for this.

Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft (Azure) but have no relation to Office or Microsoft Teams.

It is not about the technology platform. You still have to dedicate resources to ensure feature parity across both OS systems. When MS starts selling Teams to huge enterprise customers (e.g., Walmart, Ford, GM etc.) that are on 99% Windows platform and the feature request and pressure starts building, where do you think the resources would go ? It is not MS fault, it is the nature of their business. Windows based enterprises are their bread and butter and that's what they will prioritize. I work for an enterprise Cloud company, and we prioritize IE because of this reason.

> It is not about the technology platform. You still have to dedicate resources to ensure feature parity across both OS systems

It is about the technology platform, because the amount of resources necessary to ensure feature parity is a function of the platfrom. Word for Windows and Word for Mac are probably two separate giant monsters of early-90's C++ and keeping them in sync is agony. Assuming Teams is written in Electron, the amount of work is nowhere near the same; not having feature parity across operating systems is probably harder than having it.

Word for Windows and Word for Mac are much closer together than you may realize. Pretty interesting talk about cross platform Office.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HROqnw-nf4 Part 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGMoRu5yrVc

Ah, interesting. I always just took it for granted that the old Office codebases were huge beasts, but maybe not. Thanks for the info!

Still, no matter how nice that codebase is, I assume they can't beat Electron for ease of X-platform compatibility.

I don't think you know how Electron apps work.


Electron is complete shit, especially for long running processes. Might as well use the browser version.

Perhaps it's just the people writing electron apps doing Abbas job, because some of them work fine

seems to be working just fine for visual studio code

This isn't a given. Some of Microsoft's newer programs, like Visual Studio Code, run just as well on Macs (and Linux!) as on Windows. Especially when they said it was "web-based", which I assume means the desktop app is (like VSC) using Electron and cross-platform compatibility shouldn't be hard.

I have used Teams for a few months on Mac and Windows (most time spent on Mac), this is the exact same quality: thanks electron.

Nice, this is the message I was looking for. Was hoping it would get more love on Mac than Skype4B has.

Our small team within a giant org is using hipchat, but it's near impossible to get anyone else from the org on there for shared projects. Maybe they'll be more receptive to MS Team.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are both Electron apps. Web tech under the hood.

Have you used the latest office on a Mac? It's really, really well done.

I could have thought I saw that it web-based so it should work fine on any platform?

Historical data is not a guarantee for future performance.

No but it's often quite a good indicator.

1) Is this a cloud/online product, or does it require desktop installation? 2) I see it mentioning the a Preview is available, but I can seem to find it on my Office 365 apps panel (I'm a Business Premium account/user).

1) It's both cloud based and has a desktop app. I believe the demo screenshots I saw were all in the browser though. 2) There was a mention that it wasn't available immediately but should start showing up somewhere in the dashboard around 1:30 EST. You might have to find it somewhere deep in the settings if I remember what someone else showed me. I.e. it's not in the main app grid by default and has to be enabled.

If they offered it a la carte I would be a lot more interested. Our company is just getting over Microsoft hegemony. I'll never be part of getting back into that by buying Microsoft services that are intertwined.

Buying the cheapest SKU of O365 that has Microsoft Teams is actually cheaper than per-person cost for Slack.

For now it is. If service income is to replace on premise licenses the price will have to go up.

Disagree. People had fairly long upgrade cycles on desktop office before office365. A subscription provides more reliable income.

Most of Microsoft's income comes from businesses. They already use a subscription service called Software Assurance. That's the income they will need to replace.

The requirement to have an Office 365 account will not allow it to grow. I understand Microsoft wants people to pay for Office 365 and then for more and more services, but they need to have a free tier so that influencers can try out their solutions, and then the money will come on its own! So, the "new" Microsoft is not really "new" in its marketing strategy. I was unpleasantly surprised that as a developer I cannot use Hyper-V on Windows 10 Home either as the Hypervisor is free with macOS.

Gees, I guess they will be constrained to their 60M paying customers and their 1,2B employees.

Tough life.

Well, you oversimplify things, and that's a very typical fallacy. Just like they have a market today, without something to keep people loyal, it can dissolve pretty quickly. Look at Apple! With their arrogance and laziness, they are going down the drain fast. Android runs on 9 out of 10 phones, people are swapping Macs for Surface, and things didn't look like this not so long ago! Arrogance and laziness killed MySpace, too!

You always need to flirt with your customers and mostly - with the influencers! Microsoft used this strategy to flirt with developers!

Maybe now my office will stop with those endless email chains.

Since this was harder than you expect it to find on the main announcement page...the page you want to go to in order to actually access teams is here: https://teams.microsoft.com/

And the app downloads page is here: https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads

I'm getting an error on my end though after following their activation steps so I need to figure out why it's doing that. (Shows me "errorCode=AdminUserLicenseNotPresent" so maybe there's an extra step I have to complete that wasn't mentioned)

Maybe you have to get your enterprise admin to enable it?

I am the Enterprise Admin...that's what I'm confused about, since I already went through their simple 3 steps to get started video which was essentially just flipping a switch in the Office 365 Admin area. I expected it to work right away, but then couldn't see where the actual main page for Teams was, so I kept on looking and eventually found it, but even so, it didn't seem to allow me to login yet...right now I'm chalking it up to them not being fully ready for everyone to use it.

Ever figure this out? I did the same thing today! I enabled it, and both the app/browser version say I need to enable it. Already did, but maybe it just takes a little while.

Hi Kratisto...yup I did. It appears that Teams isn't actually for our type of organization yet (since we're an EDU organization using Office 365...seems like it won't be available to us until early next year so we'll have to wait until then from the responses I received back from our Microsoft sales people over at Computer Land).

+1 for adding another great option. The more options the better...

-1 for no shame when coping the design.

I saw a few comparisons to Slack and Google Wave.

But, seriously, this is likely more like Microsoft Groove (originally from Groove Networks) brought to the web. This idea has been around for a very long time.

How does this relate to Skype for Business (previously Lync)? Is it a update and rebrand of group chat, or something separate?

if you start a private chat with a user, and they have never logged into Teams, it sends them a Skype for Business message. So I can be using Teams and they can still be using S4B

the team chats are threaded with embedded documents, likes, emojis etc

This actually looks really good, and considering the security/compliance features I'm seriously thinking of moving from Trello to "plans". It comes close to trello for UI and considering it's available through my organisation it means I can put non-public data in my weekly task lists too.

Somehow reminds me of Google Wave.

Slack Killer.

I have been saying for a while that Slack is not a defensible product and that their customer base is notoriously fickle.

As microsoft, google, and apple begin integrating chat more directly into the OS Slack will see its market share vanish.

Great, but would I trust Microsoft with my data? I don't think so.

I would happily trust microsoft's corporate cloud - and the certification and insurance that presumably comes with it. Even the public-facing OneDrive I'd consider better than many of the alternatives (such as Dropbox) - MS has some pretty good security engineers.

Then you shouldn't trust Slack either. You're kidding yourself otherwise.

but you would trust slack with your data ? Also Microsoft has on prem version so you don't have to trust anyone

I thought they don't have on prem version. Cool!

your c

Will it come to on-premise SharePoint 2016 (or later) too? Or is this just a cloud-only service?

Can I setup MS Teams without IT Admin?

depends on how your tenant is setup

Yammer with a new skin?

To the other replies suggesting similar products from different vendors, you're missing the point. Microsoft bought Yammer in 2012 so could have very well used a lot of the same tech under the hood of Teams.

No better slack

Google Wave?

Looks quite good, maybe worth to try it...

Creative name for a slack clone...

I don't understand how chat service can be so intertwined with printer-first applications (Word, Excel).

A lot of large documents are team efforts, and you'd start with a discussion outside the document before it moves into comments inside.

So if company prefers printed documents and bureacracy, why not just talk by telephone or use Microsoft Lync? Why they're trying to combine these dusty office things with hipster web interface?

It's not necessarily a question of preference; sometimes your employer may be contractually required to write specific forms of documentation.

Excel can also be very effective as a small database - I did some volunteer IT work for a co-op grocery store that runs their entire business operation off spreadsheets.

I am not sure if you are trolling, but on the chance you are not:

Let me take you through my workflow. I write content for companies, e.g. whitepapers, interviews, blogs and the like. If I have to deal with only one internal "stakeholder", its not a problem.

Briefing, first draft, one additional call, final version.

Now, as soon as you more or "higher" people join the creation process, the amount of digital files increases, as does the e-mail-chain, as doe the calls.

If I can just join a company chat about, throw in a document into the mix and get one after the other to sign of on the documents, that would cut down on the amount of version beeing sent around and thus make life easier for me.

A lot of projects have multiple documents that need to be discussed. There could be a spreadsheet, a few word documents and a powerpoint presentation being discussed. These things are rarely created in a vacuum, so adding a communication facility that can pull up all these things seamlessly makes sharing and discussing that much easier.

Are they really printer first? I use excel almost daily and Word almost as much, but I don't even remember the last time I printed an excel or word doc.

It doesn't scroll new messages, but instead shows a button "New Messages" that you must click or mouse wheel scroll.

We tried using Teams last night for release coordination. This misfeature made it practically unusable. It's a seriously dumb feature. I'm still a bit baffled that someone actually designed and developed it, thinking it was a good idea.

Presumably this works exactly like Skype. All new messages are scrolled but if you manually scroll up to read old messages you'll get a button for "new message" that you must click on to resume. Which makes sense in that you don't want the screen to automatically advance if you are manually scrolling for old messages.

No, they broke this in one of the more recent updates. It never scrolls to the bottom once you get more than one window full of messages automatically anymore.

I have been using Teams for a few months now, never had this issue.

This might be elementary but does "Teams" show up in the App launcher? I enabled Teams from O365 settings this morning but I don't see anything pertaining to accessing the teams product.

I simply had to download the Mac / Windows (https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads) client and things worked. I never found a "web version" of Teams - but it probably exists somewhere. :)

The web version is located at https://teams.microsoft.com/, and you just login there.

Watching the demo animation on the site it seems to scroll for new messages. Is it only when the application doesn't have focus that it stops scrolling?

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact