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Microsoft prohibits the use of Slack internally, favors its own Teams collaboration software

By onetheycallEric · 43 replies
Jun 22, 2019
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  1. While Slack just made a successful debut onto the stock market, news has surfaced that Microsoft actively bans the use of Slack for its employees, as reported by GeekWire. They have also obtained a document that outlines "prohibited and discouraged" software and technology.

    While Microsoft's Teams is Slack's foremost competitor in terms of collaborative chat software, it seems competition isn't the only reason for the ban. Or at least, that's not how Microsoft is framing it. While Microsoft does mention the competitive nature of Slack, it also cites a security concern. Below is Slack's entry on the list:

    Slack Free, Slack Standard and Slack Plus versions do not provide required controls to properly protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP). Existing users of these solutions should migrate chat history and files related to Microsoft business to Microsoft Teams, which offers the same features and integrated Office 365 apps, calling and meeting functionality. Learn more about the additional features that Teams can provide your workgroup. Slack Enterprise Grid version complies with Microsoft security requirements; however, we encourage use of Microsoft Teams rather than a competitive software.

    Also joining Slack in the "prohibited" category is Grammarly, the popular writing and grammar checker. “The Grammarly Office add-in and browser extensions should not be used on the Microsoft network because they are able to access Information Rights Management (IRM) protected content within emails and documents,” reads the list.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft discourages the use of of Amazon Web Services and Google Docs, which also compete with Microsoft's Azure and Office 365, respectively. While there is no outright ban on the services, they ostensibly "require a business justification" in order to be used. GitHub's cloud version is also unsurprisingly discouraged for "Highly Confidential types of information, specs or code.”

    In some cases, it seems Microsoft has legitimate reason to warrant concern. In others, it seems Microsoft just wants to corral employees into the Microsoft ecosystem. Slack and Microsoft have been battling it out since 2017, and in April, Slack recognized Microsoft as its primary competitor.

    Microsoft also launched a free version of Teams that includes unlimited messages and search to better compete with Slack.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,715   +2,514

    Funny how they don't give these same recommendations to their customers. I guess corporate privacy is more important than ours, esp. when job #1 of every company is reselling data.
    Impudicus and ziffel66 like this.
  3. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 673   +571

    Our extended org replaced Teams with Slack a year or 2 ago and IMO Slack's interface is easier to use. Teams had more features and some people still use it personally, but there area few independent group features in Slack which are better. For one, you couldn't hide a group from view in Teams. Yes, you can restrict membership but not prevent the name from being seen in the list of groups. You can do that in Slack and our small office takes advantage of that.
  4. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,941   +1,490

    Why bother making a product people are willing to use when you can just force them to use it. Makes perfect sense.
  5. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,458   +1,034

    I mean, it would mean extra "bug testers" lol (assuming it's up to par for productivity)
  6. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,766   +1,160

    Oh my... how could microsoft discourage their employees the use of direct competitors software, they are evil /s
    zorven, Arris, Puiu and 3 others like this.
  7. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 850   +386

    At least it means Microsoft staff are forced to use Microsoft products and are therefore encouraged to make them work
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,390   +5,018

    What it really means is Microsoft doesn't care about providing software people want. They will not provide software their own employees want to use. And instead of listening to their employees (much less anyone else) desires to make better software, they decide to restrict their employees.
    TempleOrion and JaredTheDragon like this.
  9. gollum21

    gollum21 TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +14

    This is limited to their employees and not all of Micro$oft's users. I don't really see this as an issue. If the software can't work for M$'s purposes they will lose productivity anyways.
    H3llion likes this.
  10. OptimumSlinky

    OptimumSlinky TS Addict Posts: 58   +147

    This is no different than what Alan Mulally did when he became CEO of Ford: He walked out into the parking lot and noticed most of the senior executives drove a Lexus. He came back in and said (paraphrasing), "If you won't buy our product, then why should we expect anyone else to? And if our product isn't competitive enough, fix it."
    The BEST way to make Teams better is to have people use it every day, and then adjust, upgrade, and improve based on THAT usage. If everyone just used Slack, then there'd be no incentive to make Teams better because, hey, I just use slack.
    kenc1101, rub900, Gixser and 2 others like this.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,390   +3,779

    The Fed can't apply anti-competitive practices fast enough for these bums!
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,963   +3,999

    This, combined with the pre-update notice that an upcoming update would break 3rd party software, would give many of us the impression that M$ is attempting to turh Windows into a closed system after the fashion of Apple..

    But that's just crazy talk, isn't it? Satya Nadella would never pull such a ruthless and underhanded stunt such as that, now would he? :poop:
    TempleOrion likes this.
  13. OptimumSlinky

    OptimumSlinky TS Addict Posts: 58   +147

    MS requiring MS employees to use MS software literally has nothing to do with the Fed, nor is it anti-competitive.
    TempleOrion, kenc1101, Gixser and 4 others like this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,963   +3,999

    How so? With the exception of very specialized brand specific, single task oriented, individual tools, Chevy mechanics aren't required to use only Chevy issued and authorized tools.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  15. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,833   +678

    I would make it mandatory
    rub900 and Manya3084 like this.
  16. Manya3084

    Manya3084 TS Member

    Eh, if it was my company, I'd want you using my product within the workplace. You can always leave if you don't like that fact instead of complaining.

    Your Chevy example is wrong. Staff would be required to use Chevy authorised parts. Never seen a Chevy branded socket set.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,963   +3,999

    Not in the least, Slack is a tool, not a part

    That's because sockets are tools, not parts.
  18. Manya3084

    Manya3084 TS Member

    Remember, companies have policies, if they say you use this tool/product, then you either comply or leave.

    I'm a supervisor at my job. I'll spin whatever **** I need to make the management's decisions sound good, even if they are bat **** crazy.
    TempleOrion and EClyde like this.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,963   +3,999

    Speaking in terms of bizarre spin and being bat*** crazy, EA has apparently honed both of those concepts to a fine art:
    TempleOrion likes this.
  20. Manya3084

    Manya3084 TS Member

    Remember, she's pushing the company line. Should she be open and honest? Quite sure she has a vested interest to be employed. Maybe a mortgage?
    Being an NPC is much easier at a job. Being in management is a different story.
    captaincranky likes this.
  21. gamoniac

    gamoniac TS Evangelist Posts: 358   +102

    Except that those Ford employees bought the cars with their own money. In Microsoft's case, they would have to pay Slack for the licenses. I can understand their decision.

    We use both Slack and Teams at my company. (Don't ask... It's a cluster) Teams has come a long way and many prefer them to Slack. Specifically, Teams has superior video conferencing and recording feature . That said, Slack is better when you have external users (non-employees), but by far the biggest reason most our employees prefer Slack is that Teams doesn't have enough emojis. Yep, 100% true story.
    Lurker101 likes this.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,963   +3,999

    Yes it certainly is. At least as soon as you can convince yourself that lying pathologically, is a virtue.
  23. jpuroila

    jpuroila TS Enthusiast Posts: 62   +32

    As much as I hate Microsoft, I really don't see why anyone would have an issue with this(unless they work for Microsoft and have to comply with these policies, in which case they deserve to suffer due to working for Microsoft). Not using cloud services other than your own - especially those belonging to your COMPETITORS - for anything related to confidential data is a perfectly sensible policy. Making it a policy to not use a competitor's tools or services(in general) when you produce your own equivalents might be kind of a **** move if there are people who actively use those(especially in a big company like Microsoft, where someone working on Azure has no way to even theoretically affect the feature set of something like Office), but it's still a reasonable policy.
  24. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,442   +1,909

    Why is this even a thing? MS has the right to dictate which internal tools they use and every other company has this right too.

    Let's not exaggerate. Using just a single tool instead of multiple ones can very important in large companies. Dictating which tools their employees have to use is normal for most companies.

    Even in the the small company I work, ppl using their own email software and other tools can be a huge headache when I have to do any setups, backups, transfers, etc etc. Most ppl don't know how to do it and the "IT guy" (aka me) has to work twice as much just for simple things.

    Let me give you an example: most of us use thunderbird as our email client, but our boss uses Mail (default mac client). When we moved servers it took us a few hours to finish the email accounts and data transfers for multiple people... it took 2 days for our boss because of bugs in Mail that refused to read the proper timestamps from the new server.
    gamoniac, Gixser and Lurker101 like this.
  25. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 850   +386

    What it means is Microsoft DO care about providing software people want. If their own software teams would rather use a competitors product over their own, why would anyone else feel differently? If their own people have to regularly use it, they will be incentivised to fix it and make it just as good or better than the competing products.

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