Last updated May 2020
Teams promises to make communications easy and efficient by eliminating the confusion and distraction of using many platforms through many windows and multiple devices.
Back in the 1960s, pioneering media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” McLuhan meant that whatever communications medium we choose to use – phone, radio, TV, email, texting, chat apps – shapes how we communicate. Because of this, it’s absolutely vital that you choose the communications platform that will provide the optimal communication for your business.
Back around 2016, Microsoft reportedly considered trying to acquire Slack before deciding to compete with them.
By 2019, Teams overtook Slack in total customers, thanks in large part to its bundling as part of Office 365 – including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more.
The key question in 2020: What are Microsoft Teams’ advantages?
It depends on a number of factors, including your business and personal preferences.
Here’s a summary of key features and benefits, according to reviewers.
“The two chat services are focused on different customers,” Warren wrote. “Microsoft has a vast array of businesses that rely on its software and services, whereas Slack is trying to break into the enterprise and has convinced many smaller businesses and startups to use its software.”
Bott– not bot – summarizes it this way: “Although Slack and Microsoft Teams are superficially similar in terms of the features they offer,” he writes, “they address dramatically different markets.
To put it bluntly: Slack is a product. Microsoft Teams is a feature.”
Slack promotes itself as software to be “a place for every conversation… more productive, more transparent, more efficient, with no more emails.”
Teams, on the other hand, is an exceptionally robust feature of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite.
In practice, the markets for Slack and Teams seem to overlap quite a bit. While Slack markets more to startups, Microsoft Teams more to established companies - but it’s not a hard-and-fast difference.
Slack seems a lot easier to set up than Microsoft Teams, and that’s not surprising.You can see the different business cultures here.
Slack’s a startup for startups – less structured, bootstrap and get going. Microsoft is organizational and robust and needs an IT-savvy person.
Slack’s reportedly easier to run, but Teams boasts stronger administrative controls and better security. PC Mag breaks it down here.
If you’re one of the larger organizations that Microsoft markets to, it makes sense to let your IT people take the lead. If you’re too small to have IT people, you might look at Slack first to see if you like it.
Both are available on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.
Some reviewers report the layout in Microsoft Teams can seem too busy, with too many tabs. Slack appears cleaner.
Both have bots - Slack’s Slackbot and Microsoft Teams’ T-Bot and Who Bot.
It really seems to come down to personal preference. PC Mag covers all this in detail.
Both Teams and Slack have different ways to send and receive messages, including threads.
Microsoft Teams has more built-in options to format your text, and in return, Slack lets you set reminders for individual messages.
Digital Trend features a more detailed breakdown. Again, take a look and see what appeals to you.
PC Mag and others report Microsoft Teams has the edge in video. That’s mainly because Skype is integrated, partly because Teams allows up to 250 people on a paid plan vs. Slack’s fifteen, and partly because you can record meetings directly using Teams.
Reviewers report both apps allow video calls and the feature works very well.
To learn more about video conferencing on Teams visit Switch4Teams article on video calls on Teams.
Another core value proposition, Microsoft Teams lets you share Office 365 files and work on them immediately from the workspace.
Slack doesn’t come with the option of editing documents from the workspace, so you have to download files and open them in specific apps to edit them.
So, Microsoft Teams seems to hold an advantage here through Office 365 integration.
Speaking of integrations,“In the past, Slack had an advantage over Teams due to its easy third-party integrations, user-friendly design and vast array of shortcuts,” according to Business News Daily.
“Slack was among the first of its kind when it was released and has set the standard for office communication platforms.”
Paid Slack has over 800 integrations you can use directly, but the Free plan limits that to ten.Microsoft Teams clearly has excellent native integrations with Office and it’s been growing its relationship with third-party apps, supporting 180 or so as of April 2020.
If you already use Office365 and like Office applications, Teams seems like the clear choice. “However, if integrations are your primary concern for your team chat app,” according to Mike Zivkovic of chat app startup Chanty, “Slack is the clear winner since it integrates with every other tool under the sun.”
Microsoft Teams and Slack let you search your chat history, contacts and even the content of the files you share in the app. The consensus seems to be that both work equally well.
To learn more about Microsoft teams and Slack's search capabilities visit the Chanty article.
Both tools need integrations in order to work with managing projects and tasks.
In Slack, you can assign and manage tasks using Actions. Similarly, Microsoft Teams also requires integration with the Planner tool. On the flip side, Microsoft Teams can more easily handle workers and companies who use multiple shifts.
Microsoft Teams and Slack provide support through different channels like bots and FAQs.
Of course, sometimes googling gives you the best and quickest results.
As Tom Warren put it in The Verge: “Slack’s challenge is getting people to pay for its service, and Microsoft’s is getting people to love using its service.”
Both Teams and Slack have freemium plans. When it comes to the paid plans, the cheapest Microsoft Teams plan is less expensive than Slack’s cheapest plan.
Microsoft Teams’ pricing page shows Business Essentials: $5/person/month; Business Premium $20/person/month.
Slack’s pricing: $6.67 or $12.50/month, each company based on billing annually.
Good luck deciding if Microsoft Teams is the service that best fits your needs, we hope our review helps you make a decision.
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