After being slow to virtual backgrounds, Microsoft appeared to leapfrog the competition this week with their new Together mode, which places meeting participants in virtual settings such as auditoriums, which Microsoft says reduces “Zoom fatigue” due to tracking the gallery grid of meeting participants.

Together Mode

In an interview with Fox Business Slack CEO Steward Butterfield was not impressed, however, saying Microsoft Teams was “not competitive” with Slack.

Butterfield says the two products were “fundamentally different”, portraying Teams as mostly a video conferencing platform while Slack was a channel-based communication medium designed to replace email.

He claimed Microsoft has an incentive to “create confusion by giving customers the impression that Slack and Microsoft Teams are the same product,” but that this was not the case.

“It’s not better or worse,” Butterfield said. “We use video calling all the time, but we don’t feel the need to build that into Slack because people make their choices in all different categories and, to the extent that you create this interoperability between different software products, I think that’s really important.”

While Butterfield previously said Microsoft was inflating its usage numbers, he now said many companies were using Slack and Teams side-by-side, meaning Slack did not have to offer the advanced video conferencing features Teams were innovating on at present.

Slack instead wanted to concentrate on connecting remote employees, including using their new acquisition Rimeto, a company directory service which ironically is very similar to market leader LinkedIn.

While Microsoft has announced 75 million daily active users in April this year, Butterfield refused to update their last released DAU numbers, which was a mere 12 million in October 2019. Butterfield instead boasted gaining 12,000 paying customers in the last quarter, more than twice as many as the previous quarters.

With Slack recently partnering with Amazon, the size of the company’s friends mean it is unlikely it will be allowed to fail. Do our readers think they have a chance otherwise, however? Let us know below.

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