Microsoft Teams vs Slack; The Enterprise Messaging Wars Continue
Back in July 2018, Wired ran the headline “The Office-Messaging Wars Are Over. Slack Has Won.” This was in response to Atlassian striking a deal for Slack to inherit their HipChat and Stride customers.
Is Slack right for my business?
What about Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams?
How do I find and deploy a messaging platform by February 2019?
Messaging wars begin
Mio CEO, Tom Hadfield, responded with his own take on the Slack and Atlassian partnership. Tom wrote “While Slack may have won the Office Messaging Wars of 2014-2017, the Enterprise Messaging Wars of 2018-2020
Tom suggested we were only on episode 5 of 20 of Game of Messaging Thrones. With the arrival of Microsoft, Google and Cisco on Slack’s home
The rise and rise of Microsoft Teams
To declare the messaging wars were over, only two weeks after Microsoft announced a free version of Microsoft Teams was a bold statement. We only had to wait two further weeks to learn that Microsoft had officially named Slack as a competitor.
Towards the end of 2018, Spiceworks revealed the results of their latest business chat apps study. They showed that Skype for Business is still number one with 44% use across 900 businesses surveyed. Music to Microsoft’s ears was that Microsoft Teams was second on the list – only two years after it’s formal launch.
Covering other vendors in the market, the study also revealed expected adoption by the end of 2020:
- 53% Skype for Business
- 41% Microsoft Teams
- 18% Slack
- 12% Google Hangouts
- 1% Workplace by Facebook
Microsoft Teams steals the limelight
Needless to say, these results triggered a raft of
Perhaps the most topical view
Their comparison of the two messaging players broke down key features that were of importance to HipChat users. Whilst on point for the HipChat community, this was merely one of many articles comparing Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Tim Gelardi, Senior Industry Analyst at MZA, told me he thinks:
“It’s going to be a big year for Microsoft Teams. They will continue to be the main blocker to many of the other solutions getting a foothold in
Cisco Webex Teams
The next biggest name on the Spiceworks list was Google Hangouts. This is surprising as Cisco Webex Teams boasts a whole host of customers –
However, Cisco was recently named a leader in team collaboration software by Info-Tech. In their report, Cisco received an 8.3/10 composite score. This put them third overall, behind Slack and Asana.
Fuelling the fire that little bit more, Amy Chang, SVP of Collaboration at Cisco, commented in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
“Last year we grew an entire Slack in 10 months”.
Google had a strange couple of months at the back end of
“No decisions made about when Hangouts will be shut down. Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.”
Gartner initially included Google Hangouts in their Chat Wars article in 2017. Google certainly hasn’t won the messaging war but they are hanging on in there.
Interestingly, Tim Gelardi suggested “Google is making a serious play for the enterprise now. It will be interesting to see how G-Suite customers take to the Hangouts Chat.”
At Google Next earlier this year, Google announced new features to the platform, quashing
- Guest access (Gmail integration)
- Hangouts Meet and Google Voice integration
- Out of office notifications
- Progressive web app
- Accelerated transition program
Furthermore, Google Currents is being bought back to life. The former
social magazine app was discontinued in favour of Google Play Newstand.
The new version will be a rival to Workplace by Facebook, and is listed on Product Hunt as an enterprise replacement for Google+.
Battlers from left field
Workplace by Facebook only received 1% of the Spiceworks survey. Since the study, Nestle has committed to a 210,000 user deployment. Workplace VP, Julien Codorniou told me openly that the Workplace strategy is to attack the forward-thinking Fortune 500 customers. Whilst there appears a lot of room to
“I think we will see Facebook gaining a lot of user base market share, but if the big Chinese providers (DingTalk, WeChat etc) can monetize their existing free users, they could be dark horses.”
There is also the potential for Unified Comms vendors to make a real
Who will win the enterprise messaging wars?
I reached out to industry experts to get their opinions on who would win the messaging wars.
Blair Pleasant, Co-Founder of UCStrategies.com, summarizes nicely “There doesn’t have to be one winner – lots of room in the messaging space for multiple vendors – and more choices for customers.”
CTO and Head of AI at Five9, Jonathan Rosenberg, who recently gave his thoughts in our “Mio
Interoperability in the messaging wars
As the market continues to grow considerations must be made for instances of multiple messaging platforms. Graham Walsh, Director of Solutions Architecture at Pexip, recognized this in his comment:
“I think one fundamental piece of the jigsaw is missing – interoperability. I get asked it all the time. Can Slack talk to Hangouts etc. With so many acquisitions, not everyone wants to be on one platform. Let users have the choice.”
The reverse is the belief of Umar Sear, Director of Business Collaboration, Mobility & IoT Solutions at Tata Communications. “I believe it’s going to get a lot more diverse. We need to find a way to interoperate between the platforms.”
Andy Dignan, SVP of Professional Services at Five9 approached the messaging wars from a customer angle. “2019 will be the year that customers who have Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams will get closer to choosing one solution, maybe two. The users will decide.”
Alaa Saayed, ICT Industry Director at Frost & Sullivan, agreed that Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams will continue to grow but that Slack will win the 2019 messaging wars. “As of May 2018, Slack had 8m active daily users – 3m were paid.”
The enterprise messaging wars continue
It’s fair to say that the industry remains fragmented but full of great messaging platforms, and there is no clear winner of the enterprise messaging wars. In Tom Hadfield’s initial article, he suggested we were only on episode 5 of Game Of Messaging Thrones. Almost a year later, I’d suggest we’ve made it to around episode 8.
In fact, since the original time of publishing this article, Slack has released
Following the 10m announcement, Slack has strengthened their enterprise appeal by launching Enterprise Key Management, channel search,
Microsoft Teams announced at Enterprise Connect that their app is in use by 500,000 organizations across the world. Microsoft also introduced a raft of new features including custom backgrounds and intelligent whiteboards.
Cisco hasn’t gone under the radar either. Amy Chang led a keynote at Enterprise Connect, and then UC Expo, where she introduced users of Webex Teams to cognitive collaboration. Intelligent features like Webex assistant, People Insights and facial recognition will be turned on in Webex Teams soon.
The enterprise messaging wars are not over. They’re still heating up.