Microsoft has announced that its new Teams feature has now gone live and has been made part of the software firm’s popular Office 365 suite, becoming available to those customers who have signed up to the right business plan.
This app, which has been designed for work collaboration and messaging, has a strong similarity to Slack, with which Microsoft aims to compete on its own turf. Teams started undergoing testing in preview during the autumn of last year, and Microsoft is now confident enough to launch it in 181 different countries around the world.
Those who are signed up with Office 365 Business will not be able to access Teams, but it is accessible to both Business Essential and Business Premium subscribers, in addition to customers with E5, E3 and E1 enterprise plan subscriptions. The feature is not available as a free offering, but there is no extra cost outside of what the customer is already being charged for these programmes. Should someone be seeking the most cost-effective way to try out Teams, a subscription to Business Essentials, costing £3.80 per month, will be the best choice.
Microsoft has indicated that a number of major enterprises, including Three UK, Expedia and Deloitte, are already deploying the Teams feature in its preview form. In its blog posted to announce the full release, the company chose to reemphasise that Teams offers those who opt to use it an experience that allows for what it describes as ‘modern conversations’. What this means is that it includes capabilities such as threaded replies – in other words, when a user posts a reply to a particular message on Teams, this and all subsequent replies will show in the form of threads, as they do on social media networks such as Facebook.
As well as confirming a full release for this new feature, Microsoft also used the blog post to state that it had taken advantage of the gap between the launch of the preview version of Teams and this full version to add several additional functions that improve the user experience. These fresh additions include mobile audio call and Android video chat support, with the latter also expected to be made available for the Windows Phone and iOS versions of the app within the very near future.
Furthermore, Teams now enables the user to directly email channels, with this function also able to be deployed for sending emails that have attachments added to them. Microsoft is particularly keen to let people know about what it considers one of the main benefits of Teams – namely the fact that it enjoys full integration across every Office 365 service and product.
It is expected that the company will pursue additional integrations so that it works with services from outside organisations as well. Trello and SAP are among the first batch of external services with which it is likely to be integrated when this begins to happen.
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