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Skype Group Program Manager discusses Skype bot technology at Microsoft Envision.
Skype Group Program Manager Lilian Rincon discusses Skype bot technology at Microsoft Envision.

Microsoft is building a workplace collaboration tool, called Skype Teams, according to a report from mspoweruser.com.

The chat app would put Microsoft in direct competition with Slack, which has become the standard office chatting tool. In March, rumors surfaced that Microsoft was interested in purchasing Slack for up to $8 billion before co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Satya Nadella put the kibosh on the idea. Instead, they suggested improving Skype, according to TechCrunch.

It seems the team behind Skype took their suggestion to heart. Microsoft’s chat tool will look and function similarly to Slack with a few key differences.

A look at Project Sonoma, a Microsoft app for shift workers that is in preview mode on the Google Play Store.
A look at Project Sonoma, a Microsoft app for shift workers that is in preview mode on the Google Play Store.

As mspoweruser reports, Skype Teams will allow threaded messages, like those you see in Facebook comments or Gmail threads. The app, which integrates with Office 365, will also let users schedule online meetings. Core Skype functions like group and one-on-one video calls will be features of the app as well.

In August, Microsoft confirmed it is testing another chat app called Project Sonoma. That tool is designed for “deskless workers” to manage their schedules, communicate with teammates, and switch shifts.

Chat apps, like Slack, have become essential to many teams, as employees increasingly telecommute or work flex hours. Providing workplace productivity tools is essential to Microsoft’s business, so it’s unsurprising that the Redmond, Wash.-based company wants a piece of the action.

Skype Teams will be available as a web and Windows app. The company plans to launch the service for Office 365 subscribers, at least initially, according to mspoweruser. Microsoft hasn’t announced a release date and a spokesperson said the company has no additional information to share about Skype Teams.

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