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Microsoft Teams was announced in November. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft will release its answer to Slack, Microsoft Teams, on a global basis next week.

The company is holding an “online event” for the release of Teams, Microsoft’s new workplace chat app integrated with Office 365, March 14. Office Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer will give an update on new Teams features and share progress of the app.

Microsoft Office Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer speaks at Microsoft Ignite 2016 (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Teams’ calling card is the ability to pretty much do it all without leaving the friendly confines of the app. It is integrated with Skype, so users can easily jump onto a call that stems from a chat. Tabs at the top of the page let people pin important documents, like a company budget or key PowerPoint presentation, for easy access. Users can work together on a spreadsheet and chat about it in a window along the side. And if it all gets too overwhelming, an employee can send a Grumpy Cat meme to his or her co-worker and break the tension.

Microsoft first debuted Teams back in November at an event in New York City and released a preview of the app. The same day, Slack took out a full page ad in the New York Times, where it congratulated Microsoft on the announcement of Teams and offered the 41-year-old technology company some “friendly advice.”

In January, Slack upped its game, launching a service for large corporations. With Enterprise Grid, Slack took a new approach by allowing companies to connect multiple workspaces under a single network. It also provides more security than before, and allows companies to adjust data security features across workspaces.

The day before Slack’s Enterprise Grid launch, Microsoft announced its Teams workplace had been used by 30,000 organizations in the last month alone. Slack countered shortly after, revealing it had 5 million daily users at the time, with 1.5 million of them being paid subscribers.

survey of IT pros by Austin-based IT network Spiceworks released in January found that Teams could pass Slack and Google Hangouts to become the second most used business chat app, behind only Skype for Business, in the next two years. Only 3 percent of businesses surveyed said they were using Microsoft Teams, but the survey found another 17 percent of companies planned to deploy Teams in the next two years. In contrast, adoption of Hangouts and Slack was only expected to rise a couple percentage points each, to 19 and 17 percent usage, respectively.

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