The latest on Teams, Slack, Zoom – remote collaboration services are booming

Arif Bacchus

Updated on:

Satya showing off Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has an event coming up on March 30 which is expected to include information about “Teams for Life”, but ahead of the moment, a lot of remote collaboration services are booming. From Zoom, Slack, and even Microsoft’s own Teams, numbers are on the rise for all these services across the board.

Starting first with Microsoft Teams, on its third birthday last week, Microsoft reported that Teams was up to 44 million daily active users. The company also claimed that the number went up by 12 million in just one week alone, mainly due to the rise of more workers heading online due to the Coronavirus crisis. While not confirmed, that could be in part thanks to Microsoft offering 6 months of Teams free and cutting back on some of the restrictions of the free tier of the service.

Microsoft also originally marked the moment by announcing some new features for Teams. These range from real-time noise suppression during calls, a new raise hand feature, and the ability to pop out chats. Features aside, looking at just the numbers, this is quite the difference. Last, in November 2019, Teams was only at the 20 million daily active users mark.

As for Microsoft’s biggest competitor, Slack, it was last reported on March 19 that it added 7,000 new customers between the periods of February 1 and March 18. That’s an increase from the last quarter, where it was reported that 5,000 customers were added. CEO of Slack, Stewart Butterfield also explained on Twitter how Slack has seen an increase in simultaneously connected users. As an example, on Tuesday. March 10, Slack hit 10 million simultaneously users,  but as of March 25, the number climbed to roughly 12.5 million.

Much like Microsoft, Slack marked its moment by announcing a simpler and cleaner look, some of which were inspired by Microsoft Teams. Areas seeing changes include the navigation bar, ways to find conversations, files, apps, starting messages, organizing channels, and shortcuts.

Finally, there is Zoom. This video conferencing collaboration service isn’t really much talked about in comparison to Slack or Teams, but it apparently has been seen as a threat to Microsoft. According to numbers from research analysts (via CNBC), Zoom added up to 2.2 million monthly active users in 2020, whereas in 2019, it only added 1.99 million.

Even downloads of Zoom’s app have soared, going from close to 170,000 to near 2 million as of March 25 (via Venturebeat.) It also came close to the 13 million monthly active user mark, heading into Slack and Microsoft’s territory. Perhaps fueled by all this popularity, Zoom is even on its way to an IPO.

Looking at the current market, with this upcoming event, Microsoft clearly has things in its favor for productivity and remote collaboration. Its widely believed we could be seeing a consumer version of Teams called “Teams for Life” as well as some extras like a Grammarly-like editor, a family-safety app for iOS and Android, and a new “Microsoft 365” subscription for consumers. As Coronavirus changes the way we live, these services are needed more than ever.