Microsoft is finally ready to take the wrapper off one of its most exciting recent services. The company has today said Microsoft Teams will be made globally available from March 14, 2017. Additionally, the company is having something of a celebration for the milestone, and we're all invited.
On Tuesday, March 14 (one week from now) at 8:30 a.m. PT, Microsoft will be hosting an online event. The gathering will be for the launch of the Microsoft Teams chat-based workspace for Office 365.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer will talk during the event. He will discuss how Microsoft Teams can develop collaboration within and beyond an organization. There will also be some new announcements regarding the platform.
There is now a registration page open. Interested parties can fill in the brief form and book themselves a virtual seat at the Teams global launch.
Teams was first announced back in November, 2016. However, since then it has been in preview as Microsoft has tweaked the experience and bolstered features. The platform works with Office 365, Planner, Power BI, and a host of other applications and extensions across platforms.
The service is also compatible with Skype for Business. In terms of Skype, users will be able to drop in and out of persistent video calls within Teams.
At the time of its introduction, I wrote that it was clear Microsoft was making a direct move for Slack's customers (or potential customers). Teams is open enough to compete, and with tens of millions of existing Office customers, it already has a huge base to target.
Slack was feeling the pressure immediately upon the introduction of Teams. The company took out a full-page ad in the New York Times that was tantamount to pushing Microsoft against a wall and screaming back off.
Some have argued that Microsoft already has Skype for Business, so what need is there for Teams. Well, the company sees them as two different services. This can be seen in pricing, with Teams only available for a fee, while Skype can be used for free.
It can be argued that Microsoft has too many enterprise-focused chat fires burning (if we consider Yammer too). However, a study by Spiceworks last year suggested Microsoft is on to a winner with its strategy. Indeed, the double whammy of Teams and Skype for Business will see the company dominate the workplace chat market in coming years.