Survey: Microsoft’s Collaboration Tools Now More Popular Than Slack

Xconomy Seattle — 

Many young professionals like to reminisce about technologies that were popular during their teenage years, like Nokia cellphones and AOL instant messenger. While AIM’s best days seem to have passed, many modern workplaces still use software with built-in chat tools, which tend to have a less formal feel than e-mail.

One such offering, Microsoft Teams, appears to be seeing rapid adoption since Redmond, WA-based Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) introduced it two years ago. Twenty-one percent of people recently surveyed by Spiceworks, an Austin, TX-based research firm, said they use Microsoft Teams, up from only 3 percent in 2016. Spiceworks questioned people at 901 organizations about what collaboration software they use for work, and published the results this week. The firm took a similar survey in 2016.

Slack, a five-year-old developer of enterprise communication software that’s reportedly eyeing an initial public offering in 2019, was used at 15 percent of the companies surveyed. That’s an increase from 13 percent of the respondents who used San Francisco-based Slack’s tools two years ago, according to the survey, which Spiceworks said was conducted last month.

Slack was more popular at small companies than mid-size and large ones, while Microsoft Teams was used more often at big businesses, the survey found.

In both 2016 and 2018, the most popular “collaborative chat” software application at organizations that responded to the survey was Skype for Business. (Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion.) The share of respondents that used Skype for Business increased to 44 percent, from 36 percent in 2016.

In September 2017, Microsoft said that its Teams product would eventually replace Skype for Business, but did not give a timeline. That means the company’s long-term vision is for users to be able to conduct phone calls, video chats, and other communications with customers and colleagues on Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams could be poised to capture additional market share. Twenty percent of survey respondents said their organizations plan to begin using the product in the next two years, in addition to the 21 percent already doing so.

People who responded to the survey also used Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Hangouts and Workplace by Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), according to Spiceworks.

Employers that pay to use Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of software applications don’t have to shell out any additional money to use Microsoft Teams. One factor that may have contributed to the product’s usage increase over the past two years is Microsoft’s introduction of a free, standalone version of Microsoft Teams in July.

Users can configure Microsoft Teams to integrate with tools like Kayak and Zoom.ai, a scheduling assistant.

Microsoft Teams is reportedly used at about 329,000 organizations, according to a report published by Geekwire in September.

Meanwhile, Slack said in May that more than 500,000 organizations used the company’s tools. Slack said at the time that it had 8 million daily active users, 3 million of which were paying customers.