Microsoft is finally revealing exactly how many people are using its Slack competitor Microsoft Teams. The software maker says that more than 13 million people are using Microsoft Teams daily, along with more than 19 million weekly active users. This is the first time Microsoft has revealed an active user count, and the company’s previous update was that 500,000 organizations were using the service back in March.
This figure is above the more than 10 million people who use Slack daily. Slack revealed its 10 million daily active user count earlier this year, and it used the same figure back in April in a financial filing. The Verge asked Slack for an update on active users, but the company is in a quiet period after its initial public offering (IPO), so there are no new numbers.
Either way, Microsoft is keen to let everyone know that it has passed Slack. It’s certainly an achievement after just two years since Teams launched, but Microsoft Teams versus Slack isn’t a clear-cut competition. Microsoft bundles Teams with its Office 365 subscriptions for businesses, whereas Slack is a separate paid service. That gives Microsoft a clear advantage for certain types of businesses, but Slack is still winning the hearts of small businesses and startups that are happy using Google’s G Suite rather than relying on Word, Excel, and Outlook.
Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Teams, and these active user numbers come just as the company is heading to Las Vegas next week for its annual partner conference. Recent reports have suggested that Microsoft’s sales teams are focusing on getting people to use Teams over the course of the next year, so we could see Microsoft pull even further ahead with these daily active user counts if the company continues to publish them publicly.
Alongside the user numbers, Microsoft is also providing an update on some new Teams features today. Priority notifications will be available later this month, and these will ping a recipient every two minutes on their phone or desktop until there’s a response. Microsoft is targeting these at newsrooms or hospitals where urgent responses are required. Read receipts will also be available later this month.
Cross-channel posting will also be available soon, and channel moderation is arriving this month. An announcements feature, which lets team members highlight news in a channel, is available today.
Microsoft has been gradually tweaking Teams over the past two years, and the big change was a free version introduced last year. Teams also got a number of impressive new features in March and continues to get updated regularly. While Microsoft has been discouraging Slack use internally, and even banning the free version, Slack hasn’t been sitting still. Slack is bridging email to its chat service and adding a bunch of useful integrations, including Zoom and even Microsoft’s Office 365 service.
Microsoft might see Slack as big competition in an area it has typically dominated, and it’s clear Slack was worried about Microsoft’s Teams push a couple of years ago. The two services are very different, though, and serve different customers. There’s clearly room for both, and a bit of healthy competition will only result in better features for both apps in the long run.