Slack is battling Microsoft in the competitive market for workplace collaboration apps, but that isn’t stopping the company from integrating some of the most popular services from its rival into its own platform.
Slack today unveiled a series of new integrations that will bring tools from Office 365 into its ecosystem. Slack didn’t work directly with Microsoft on these, instead relying on the tech giant’s APIs and other services for integrating products.
Here is a look at the new features with Microsoft apps inside of Slack:
- Outlook users will have a new option in their drop down menu for replying to and forwarding emails that lets them send messages straight to Slack. Clicking that option brings up a list of users and channels to choose from, as well as an option to attach files.
- The Outlook Calendar Slack app sends notifications for new meeting requests, reminders for upcoming events and lets users join calls without having to navigate back and forth between apps. The calendar automatically syncs with users’ status, so colleagues will know when they are in a meeting.
- Just to the left of the message compose field in Slack is a “+” sign that lets users import documents from a variety of storage providers, such as Google Drive. Slack has added Microsoft’s OneDrive storage app to that menu.
- Users can now can drop documents from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more into Slack and browse them without having to download.
In an interview with GeekWire, Andy Pflaum, Slack’s director of product management, said competition isn’t a factor when working on new integrations. Even though Slack is battling Microsoft’s collaboration hub Teams, the company will have to work with applications from partners and competitors alike, should it want to fulfill its goal of simplifying work for users of all types.
“We want to break down walls that might otherwise exist between apps that should work together,” said Pflaum.
Pflaum came over to Slack last year when the company acquired Astro Technology, a startup that focuses on transferring conversations from email to Slack. The tech and personnel from Astro played in an important role in setting up the Office 365 integrations and will continue to be instrumental as Slack adds more functions to its platform.
Slack, which is expected to go public this year, said in January it had more than 10 million daily active users, and more than 85,000 organizations using its paid version.
Microsoft launched its Slack competitor Teams just over two years ago. Slack immediately ratcheted up the rivalry with Microsoft when it took out a newspaper ad congratulating the tech giant on the Teams launch and warning that “all this is harder than it looks.”
Microsoft recognizes the rivalry as well, as last summer it officially added Slack to its list of competitors in its annual 10-K report. Teams hit its two-year anniversary in March, reporting at the time it had eclipsed 500,000 organizations using the app.