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Slack to integrate Microsoft Teams calling feature

Popular team collaboration software maker has seen a spike in use as remote working becomes more common in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak

Slack plans to integrate Microsoft Teams calling features into its own popular collaboration app, further enhancing available connections between the rival platforms.

“We’re working on Teams integrations for calling features,” Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said during a call with a financial analyst on Thursday, according to CNBC.

Details about the integration, including an expected timeframe for availability, were not immediately available.

Slack, which announced a major redesign last week, already integrates with Teams in a variety of ways. The vendor announced last year that it would connect with a range of Office 365 apps in several ways. That includes the ability to export emails from Outlook to Slack, as well as preview Word, Powerpoint and Excel files without switching between the tools.

Although the two companies are considered to be competitors in the work-stream collaboration market, integrations between the two rival platforms are to be expected. Slack prides itself on having a wide array of integrations available to users, with more than 2,000 third-party tools in its app store.

Both apps have seen a huge increase in use in recent weeks as the Covid-19 outbreak has forced more people to work from home. Teams, which launched in 2017 and has replaced Skype for Business as Microsoft’s core video meetings tool, now has 44 million daily active users – and added 12 million in one week as remote working surged.

“This is a symbiotic relationship: Slack does not want the video conferencing market, and Microsoft recognises the significance of the Slack and its growing corporate customer base,” said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC.

“In my view, Slack and Microsoft work better together, and that underscores what a Slack partnership can offer Microsoft. It would not surprise me to see more companies selecting Slack and Microsoft Teams integrations that are very beneficial to customers with fast-evolving needs.”

Butterfield announced in a series of tweets this week that use has increased rapidly as demand for team collaboration tools surges.

The number of simultaneously concurrent users rose from 10 million on March 10 to 12.5 million on March 25, particularly in areas most affected by the outbreak; the creation rate of new Slack workspaces increased by “hundreds of percent” between  March 12 and to March 25, the company said.