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Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

According to AlternativeTo.net, there are 181 different alternatives to Slack. This includes Discord, Microsoft Teams, Mattermost, Zulip, and Hangouts. So who is currently leading this market?

Slack largely invented the field we know today – so let’s start with them.

Well, most people find working in Slack efficient in a way that other instant messaging platforms don’t offer. To adapt a joke from Zack Kanter, the CEO of Stedi – “It’s only a real instant messaging platform if it was made in the Sláck region of France, otherwise it’s just a sparkling chatroom”.

Slack’s success since 2009 has changed the paradigm of work. We no longer spend our hours religiously checking email. When 181 different companies create software that seeks to remove our dependence on email, you know that the tides are changing. 

It might seem odd for a powerhouse like Microsoft to move into this relatively new field, but Microsoft certainly had something to lose from Slack’s increasing popularity. After all, it now seems that Outlook could become obsolete for software companies in a few years time.

While there are many other imitations, this doesn’t imply that Slack was an easy tool to build. It’s more than instant messaging. It’s instant messaging centered around asynchronous communication. That subtle distinction makes all the difference. 

This is a flowchart that explains how Slack decided to send a notification. Instant messaging might seem like a simple and easily imitable tool. However, this flowchart quickly proves such an assumption is far from the truth.

In July of 2018, Slack had 800 existing integrations and apps. At the same time, Microsoft had only 180 integrations. Only one of the companies has worked to drastically increase this number. As of this month, Slack now has 2000 integrations. 

Microsoft Teams offers video/voice calls with up to 80 people attending. Many review sites point out that MT is not easy to deploy and admin as it’s almost exclusively designed for larger enterprises. This seems intentional – and likely helps Microsoft Teams gain a strong foothold in larger companies.

However, in the most recent Quarterly Report, Slack announced that they have 50 clients who are paying over $1 million in Annual Recurring Revenue. At $7/user over 12 months, quick math shows that this requires approximately 10,000 employees. Large enterprises are jumping on board.

It can be very challenging for a larger organization to transition to a platform like Slack. Startups and young, lean companies have an advantage in this regard. Generally speaking – the larger an organization, the slower it moves and adapts when it comes to changes like his. However, a catch 22 exists. It is precisely because large companies display a tendency to move slowly – that they need to start using Slack. Email only further slows down their ability to make organizational changes.

In November, Microsoft claims that Teams reached 20 million daily active users (DAUs). That’s up more than 50% from the 13 million DAUs the company said it had back in July. As compared to Slack, Microsoft has more than double the number of DAUs.

In contrast, Slack says that its paid users spend nine hours each workday with the app connected, and 90 minutes where users are actively using the app. According to Slack, investors should recognize that “not all daily active users are created equal”.

It’s not bold to say that Microsoft has greater brand recognition and they’re using it to their advantage. Most recently, they have tried to play off of Slack’s advertising. Microsoft recognizes that this approach advertising could be a tool to diminish Slack’s unique branding. It’s a tool that larger companies often use to solidify their standing.

As Slack’s success continues to increase, more companies will focus on workplace collaboration apps and services. Those that move quickly will have a significant first-mover advantage within their industry. For example, the Jira integration that MediaMath uses within Slack has helped enable their team to save a significant amount of time. In the past year, they’ve had zero missed internal tickets thanks to the tool.

If you’re choosing a new instant messaging tool for your company, who do you intend to choose? Slack or Microsoft Teams?

Logan Vantrease

Customer Success Manager at Nextup.ai