NEW YORK—Microsoft today unveiled Teams, its Slack-like chat service. Teams offers the same kind of Web-based IRC-like text chat experience that Slack users have come to know and love, with persistent storage of historic chats, integrations with third-party services, and of course emojis and memes.
Slack has become the darling of millennials, serving as a kind of digital water cooler for idle office chit-chat, as well as a workspace for teams to tackle projects. This is particularly valuable for geographically distributed teams, as it fosters a style of communication that's more fluid and informal than e-mail or conference calling.
Microsoft's first foray into corporate social media was its purchase of Yammer, which offers something along the lines of Facebook for organizations—a virtual noticeboard to broadcast to your team. While this is still ticking along, the IRC-like model of communications is looking like it's going to be the one with legs. There were suggestions that Microsoft might buy Slack, but the asking price (a $4 billion valuation) was likely too high for the amount of revenue and number of paying customers that Slack actually has.