- During the week of its second anniversary Microsoft announced Teams is used by more than 500,000 organizations, all of which are paying customers, according to a company announcement.
- New features hitting Teams include customizable backgrounds on video conference calls, a white board function, and live captions. A number of privacy-related features were rolled out, including information barriers for restricting communication among specified individuals and data loss prevention in chats for screening sensitive information.
- Teams competitor Slack also announced its Enterprise Key Management (EKM) tool for an additional layer of protection in encrypted data sharing. Customers can "bring their own encryption keys" which affords them more transparency into their data. Then, in the event of a security incident, administrators can "revoke access in a very granular" way instead of interrupting the entire product.
Microsoft declared Teams its fastest growing application in company history. It hit 200,000 organizations on its one-year anniversary and it grew to 329,000 in September of 2018. Slack has 85,000 organizations paying for its services but a combined 585,000 customers that either pay or use the free version.
About 91% of Fortune 100 companies use Teams and it is used in 181 markets with 44 available languages, according to the announcement. Microsoft's reach is projected to continue growing.
Teams is expected to outpace Slack's adoption rate and double it by 2020. Collaboration vendors like Slack, while smaller and debatably more agile, eventually reach a point of saturation and are unable to attract new customers.
Slack is a strong contender in the collaboration software market, beating out Microsoft for several years. But, right now the space is Microsoft's to lose. For a while the two companies were neck and neck and both have encroached on the other's territory.
Slack's EKM solution will help attract enterprise customers, a domain mostly owned by Microsoft because of its other easy to integrate software bundles through its cloud offering. Slack is most popular in small- and medium-sized businesses that can work in a more agile manner, though its customers include Target, 21st Century Fox and IBM.
Slack's nimbleness attract customers, but Microsoft's reach is convenient for companies that already use its other products. In July Microsoft launched a free version of Teams, which was one of the x-factors for Slack when it entered the market in 2013.
Microsoft-owned Skype, on the other hand, is strategically being pushed aside by Microsoft in favor of Teams. The additional video conferencing features Microsoft added in this latest round of updates is another jab at Slack, which has been slower to offer video and voice.