Grudge Match 5: Slack Vs. Teams

5 Minute Read

It’s that time again, fight fans! Tonight’s bout features two gladiators of gab. Two chiefs of chat. Two captains of corporate communication. It’s a battle that plays out every day in companies around the world, from large corporate enterprises to ten person guerilla firms. If you’re one of the millions of workers that have figured out just how bad email is for internal communications, you have a front-row seat. The winner of tonight’s fight will find itself carrying the coveted crown emoji, while the loser will get stuck with a smiling poop. Make sure your integrations are properly integrated because the fighters are entering the ring!

Let’s meet our contenders!

In this corner, our returning champion. It’s the business messaging app that started it all. From its humble beginnings in wall-averse Millenial offices across the globe, it created a communication revolution. Can it withstand the onslaught from its well-heeled competitor, or will it fall to advancing market share? It’s the app you used because it’s all there was…it’s Slack!

And in this corner, the app that almost wasn’t. If this app’s maker had decided to bid on Slack instead of creating their own tool, this fight never would have happened. Can its impeccable pedigree and its Office 365 partners in crime unseat the original, or will its ties to the most hated software company in the world hurt its chances? You use it because your corporate overlords demand it…it’s Teams!

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Round One: Messaging

And that’s the bell! Both fighters are ready for a battle as the leap out of their seats and rush toward each other. They circle with short, probing jabs looking for a sign of weakness.

Teams finds an opening with its cleaner, streamlined interface. Both apps are easy to use, but some people find Slack’s layout to be a bit chaotic. First blood goes to Teams, but its advantage doesn’t last long.

In terms of raw functionality, both apps are about the same. They both allow you to create one on one and group chats, as well as persistent teams and “channels.” Both allow users to be added to any existing conversation at any time, and both provide the ability to share files.

Gifs, emojis, reactions, and other messaging mainstays are available in both applications, though Teams lands a solid right cross with its more user-friendly implementation.

After a fairly uneventful round, both fighters are still in good shape. The judges call a draw.

Round Two: Video Conferencing

At the bell, our fresh competitors have another try. They grapple, each trying to overtake the other. Both offer video conferencing capabilities that are well integrated into the application. Users can start video and voice calls from within existing conversations, and invite others to join. Call clarity and performance are equally good in both.

But then Teams lands a powerful uppercut, momentarily staggering its opponent. Teams allows up to 250 participants in a given conference at every pricing tier, including its free package. Slack’s free accounts only have access to one on one video and voice calls, and paid tiers offer a feeble 15 participant maximum.

As Slack regains its footing, Teams presses its advantage, unleashing a barrage of blows that send Slack reeling. Teams allows users to record video and voice conversations, a handy feature when you need to share the content of a call with someone that couldn’t be there. Slack has no recording capabilities.

Things aren’t looking good for Slack, but it tries to regain some control over the round with its screen sharing capabilities. Users can share their screen with the group during video and voice calls. Users sharing their screen can grant control to another participant. This seems to bolster Slack’s confidence, but it’s not enough. Teams offers the same functionality. And it gets worse.

Slack is immediately beaten down by Teams’ inclusion of its complete screen sharing functionality in every tier, including its free service. Screensharing is only available with Slack’s paid accounts.

At the end of round two, Slack is looking a bit ragged, and the judges hand the round to Teams. Can Slack come back in round three? 

Round Three: Integrations

Round three begins, and Slack seems warier than it was in previous rounds. Teams takes advantage of its opponent’s timidity and goes on the offensive. Teams gives users access to 180 different app integrations, at all price tiers, including deep integrations with every other software tool in Microsoft’s Office 365 package. For Office users, this is a significant boon. Teams can open up full versions of each software package directly inside of Teams for a rich collaborative experience.

Teams has Slack pinned down, relentlessly pummeling its opponent. Slack tries to fight back, but its free tier only includes ten app integrations. It seems as if Slack is doomed when suddenly it gets a second wind. While its free tier is hobbled, its paid tiers dwarf Teams’ integrations. Paid users enjoy over 800 different app integrations. There’s scarcely a business application that can’t be integrated into a Slack workflow. 

Teams is caught off guard, and for the first time in this match, it seems to lose confidence. Slack powers its way back into contention, and by the end, the judges call a draw.

Round Four: Price

As the bell sounds for round four, Teams looks disappointed that its early lead has fizzled. While it still enjoys a slight edge, a strong showing by Slack in this round could clinch the win.

And there’s the bell. Slack and Teams eye each other warily, looking for an opening. They both offer users a free option, but Slack’s free functionality is considerably more limited than Teams’. This bolsters Teams’ confidence, and it goes on the offensive.

Slack counters with its Standard package, which adds in most of the functionality its free tier was missing. But at $6.67 per user per month, it’s not enough.

Teams already offered most of that functionality in its free package. Its first premium tier, Office 365 Business Essentials it adds ever more abilities for a lower monthly price. Customers pay only $5 per user per month for an arguably fuller-featured experience that also comes with the other Office 365 software tools.

Teams is now chasing Slack around the ring, landing blow after blow. Slack tries to assert its third tier, its Plus plan. At $12.50 per user per month, it’s less expensive the Teams’ Office 365 Business Premium package, which runs $20 per user per month. For the first time in the round, Slack takes a bit of a lead, adding more storage than Teams. But is it enough?

Judges Decision

The judges pore through their notes and confer heatedly. There seems to be some disagreement, but then they come to a decision.

The match goes to…

Teams!

Slack might be the original, but Teams bests it in most categories that count. They both offer similar functionality and similar user experience. Teams get points for its more powerful video and audio conferencing features, its deep integration with the rest of the Office 365 applications, and a pricing scheme that delivers more value at every tier. Even if all features were equal, Teams comes with the entire Office 365 suite. Slack comes with…Slack. 

Small companies might be okay with Slack’s limitations, but larger companies will appreciate Teams’ extra capacity. And any business that already pays for Office 365 can start enjoying the benefits of Teams immediately, without any additional cost. Sorry, Slack.

Until next time, goodnight!

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