back to article Microsoft's Teams lights solitary candle, hipsters don't notice

Microsoft's Slack competitor Teams hit its first birthday this week, trumpeting some big numbers and a slew of new features. Teams, which began rolling out to Office 365 subscribers last year, is Microsoft's answer to the Slack messaging platform. Unlike Slack, Teams unsurprisingly does not seek to dispense with corporate …

  1. Charles Calthrop

    hate it. use it

    one of our managers insists we use it. awful tool. keep getting emails like 'hey you're missing all the fun'

    er, no, i am not reading chat in a stupid bug fix channel.

    1. Tom 64
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: hate it. use it

      I've been forced to use it too (it costs us less than Slack does, somehow), and it's actually pretty powerful. Shame about the god awful omnishambles of a user interface.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: hate it. use it

        It's not that it costs less as such, it's that if your company is paying for a 365 business prem licence for you they're "already paying for" teams.

        Sadly speaking from experience as we are made to use it for similar reasons.

        It's already there and paid for.

        The integration with the rest of the MS/365 stuff

      2. AmyInNH

        Re: hate it. use it

        They keep producing things with beyond amateur interfaces. Flashing, greyed out, etc. It's like they never matured.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hate it. use it

      Part of Microsoft's strategy (using the word loosely here) to 'connect with the youth'.

      Chummy (read: obscure and condescending) messages and dialogs across all of its products, to make you 'feel a human connection' to Microsoft's products.

      Fad started around the time when Metro (Window 8) came onto the scene, gained momentum around the time Hotmail was 'reimagined' into Outlook, got much worse when SatNad became CEO.

      Look no further than the error messages on Windows 10.

  2. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    "200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages have had Teams automatically installed on their computers, whether they like it or not."

    FTFY.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages have had Teams automatically installed on their computers, whether they like it or not."

      Actually I suspect few organisations have as yet deployed the full app. Its available as an O365 webapp when you login to your corporate Sharepoint so you dont really need to. However with the merger this year of SfB and teams that will change. We use teams and it has been more innovative than Slack - for instance Slack copied threads from teams. What Microsoft need to improve is the integration ecosystem with other products that Slack currently leads in. That is improving rapidly though. And for anyone who uses O365, Its going to be a no brainer to use MS Teams in most cases versus managing 2 diverse and non integrated products.

  3. MrT

    Hmmm...

    ... I like browsing the Microsoft apps, erm, app for things that I find useful. The regular stuff like Word, etc, does a decent job (with my current job's Office 365 account behind it) and they've added bought-in stuff like SwiftKey that I like. But it's now got to a point where the online Office 365 sidebar includes 25+apps, some of which look too much like an idea searching for a use.

    I just don't feel the need to rewrite my life in some sort of manic burst of enthusiasm to accommodate things that won't add much productivity, if any at all. The list of reasons for installing, learning and using something new has to be longer than "because XYZ is a fan of it".

    Still, it could just be me entering the back third of my life and hence developing an increased tendency to be a grumpy old fart.

  4. elDog Silver badge

    This is becoming annoyingly familiar - some purchased MS project/application

    Leaking into the "Office" or Windows ecosystem with various corporate invites (I don't see those).

    The aforesaid app having a life of about 1.3x it's marketing budget (months-to-millions) and then slowly sliding off the side of Microsoft's flat earth view.

    I do think MS has done well at supporting (and sometimes subsuming) great open-source projects (R/Analytics for example) but when they try to in-house replace a good platform they (MS)mismanage it. It's like the MBAs don't talk to people that know about technology/development/UI/etc.

  5. elDog Silver badge

    @MrT - Becoming a grumpy old fart is one of the extraordinary benefits

    We can say what we want whenever we want and to whomever we want.

    We've seen a lot of bright new things pass by. Some of them are still around and 99% have flamed out with ne'er an ember.

    I still like looking at glitter and every now and then spend more than a passing hour/week evaluating for projects. But I'm always looking for a sense of framework with stability, a community involvement that is not just "bought in", academic interest, lack of Corporate sponsorship. There are so many fun and productive things under the various OSS licenses that I feel like I am still in a candy store. (Hey Mister - what's that in your candy?)

  6. Jon 37
    Flame

    Microsoft has no clue about messaging

    I don't want to have three different messaging apps, all with different and stupid limitations. I want one good app.

    As far as I can tell, the MS approach seems to be:

    * Skype for talking to people outside my organisation and calling out to phones. (Not so good for talking to people inside my organisation because there's no corporate address book and I have to invite everyone manually and they have to accept before we can message).

    * Skype for Business for talking to people inside my organisation. (Has a corporate address book that works for internal people. I believe theoretically it can inter-operate with Skype to call external people but it's impossible to migrate from Skype to Skype for Business without making all your professional contacts re-add you on Skype with a new account, which is frankly unprofessional).

    * Teams or Yammer for talking to groups of people inside my organisation. (They do the same thing but Yammer bases group membership on the domain from your email, whereas Teams integrates with the normal Office365 corporate account admin stuff). AFAIK neither has video calling, have to use one of the Skypes for that.

    That's just insane.

    Microsoft should have made one messaging app, called it Skype, and just made everything work. They seem to have consistently failed to do that ever since they bought Skype.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      While I agree with your sentiment, you're just wrong on the details so I downvoted you. Basically none of what you said is correct, but MS messaging does still suck in many, many, many ways and doesn't seem to be drifting towards better.

      S4B calls externally when configured to do so and is a proper SIP solution. It can integrate both internally and with partner organisations for fully integrated corporate directory or just using phone numbers. It also does conf calling very well.

      Teams and Yammer do different things. I'd explain inner and outer circles to you but then I'd have to kill myself for being a bit too much of a "productivity expert". I feel sick just saying it. Both use Azure AD, Teams has video (and not) calling and conferencing. All are fully integrated with AAD groups and form part of a whole solution.

      They are all awkward as hell to use and nobody seems to be working on making it better. Everyone is working on stuffing more into the corpses.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      "As far as I can tell, the MS approach seems to be:

      * Skype for talking to people outside my organisation and calling out to phones."

      No Skype is for non corporate users. Skype for business does both of the above. No need for Skype as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

        Is it *really* necessary to use the same name for two completely different and totally incompatible things?

        Skype != Skype for Business

        Windows != Windows Phone

        Active Directory != Azure Active Directory

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

          "Skype != Skype for Business

          Windows != Windows Phone

          Active Directory != Azure Active Directory"

          Well Skype and Skype for Business are different products, but Skype can connect to SfB users.

          However the current Windows Mobile is directly based off Windows 10, and Azure AD is directly based on AD running on Windows Server 2016 so basicallly the same products.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

            > Azure AD is directly based on AD running on Windows Server 2016

            Entirely not true.

            You might be thinking of "Azure Active Directory Domain Services", which is indeed something which looks like a domain controller; it quite possibly uses AD in the background; it's certainly charged by the hour as if you were running an AD VM.

            However, Azure Active Directory is something else entirely. It does only cloud authentication protocols, like OpenID Connect, with its own data model and APIs.

            > Windows Mobile is directly based off Windows 10

            Well, "Windows Phone" then. In any case, can you run desktop .EXEs on a Windows Mobile device?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

              AAD is also completely flat: no hierarchy of containers/ organizational units to use for separating users, groups and machines. It's the antithesis of traditional LDAP directories. Its schema is also inextensible, although for those working with on prem AD that isn't anything new: extending the AD schema with custom attributes has never been well suppprted. Finally, Microsoft's Graph, which intended to bring all of O365's disparate data stores together, is often slow and returns inconsistent results for the same objects across sessions.

              SfB, which is really still Lync under the covers, is a pretty solid product but still suffers from incomplete integration with the rest of the O365 stack. That's a major driver, I think, for replacing it with Teams.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      This industry has been inventing instant messaging for at least 30 years, and it's still not solved.

      They're all shit. The only reason to use a certain IM product over another is because a certain contact is using it. How can a single company even have 3 different IM products?

      Thank god email was entrenched before these types of idiots started on it!.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      >AFAIK neither has video calling, have to use one of the Skypes for that.

      >That's just insane.

      Teams is merging with Skype for Business to give one real time unified comms app so looks like they agree with you. Yammer is more like a corporate Facebook but yes there is a lot of crossover and it well might make sense to eventually merge that too.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      >>I don't want to have three different messaging apps, all with different and stupid limitations. I want one good app.

      Well if you are in an enterprise that like most uses O365 then SfB is for many reasons likely the best choice. It can also talk to Jabber:

      http://www.rtcpedia.com/Blogs/Action?blogId=10043&blogURL=FederateJabberWithSkypeForBusiness

      And when comparing Teams to Slack there are several advantages of Teams in the enterprise:

      https://www.sherweb.com/blog/microsoft-teams-vs-slack/

    6. AmyInNH

      Re: Microsoft has no clue about messaging

      They shouldn't have "fixed" Skype, when they bought it. PO'ed when they deprecated existing logins, for force hotmail/outlook down everyone's throats.

  7. skalamanga

    Meanwhile, i still can't see my company diary on the mobile version of outlook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Meanwhile, i still can't see my company diary on the mobile version of outlook."

      Kick your company IT mobile support guy then. Works fine for me.

  8. teknopaul Silver badge

    Text

    Teams group chats are no better that spammy group emails if you cant opt out. My corp has added me to a bunch of teams groups to replace email groups which saves me from deleting a few emails and little else.

    I still don't understand why MS find zero admin, opt-in only, group chat with a cli "api" so you can itergrate with anything you like so hard.

    Seems preventing employees from communicating is the primary goal of MS tools rather than encouraging it.

    Administration control == barriers to entry.

    Skype's cunning "features" that prevent you copy pasting code to each other is 'kin annoying as a developer.

    Uninhibited text chat is precursor to uninhibited group chat; then add what ever cruft is hip this week.

    1. Lusty

      Re: Text

      @teknopaul you can opt out of mails on those groups quite easily actually, and you can do so while remaining in the group so will still have full access to the content if you so wish.

      You can also easily remove yourself from these AAD groups and leave the team completely. There's nothing stopping an admin scripting it to add you back in, but your dumb admin is not Microsoft's fault!

  9. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    My users are loving Teams!

    Sorry all you MSFT haters, once you open Teams to normal users they are all over it, esp. with Teams now on Intune managed mobis.

    For corporates it has the data sovereignty, auditability and eDiscovery features we need for FOI/GDPR that Slack lacks.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: My users are loving Teams!

      >once you open Teams to normal users they are all over it

      Indeed. And what happens to all the data on the team sharepoint site when the team disbands and moves on?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My users are loving Teams!

        "And what happens to all the data on the team sharepoint site when the team disbands and moves on?"

        Nothing. Unless you want it to.

      2. J J Carter Silver badge

        Re: My users are loving Teams!

        >And what happens to all the data on the team sharepoint site when the team disbands and moves on?<

        We've set an automatic deletion policy of 12 months for documents that nobody has touched. If users want stuff for ever they need to move to the record centre

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My users are loving Teams!

      As we all know, Office 365 data is perused by MS employees who are officially looking for child porn, byebye GDPR compliance

      What will happen if MS loses it data protection case against federal government, it certainly looks like it will, byebye GDPR compliance in the cloud.

    3. IamStillIan

      Re: My users are loving Teams!

      The MS terms are still stronger than Slack offer with regards to compliance. One of my colleagues blogged about it: https://gavurin.com/privacy-that-is-slack-with-your-data/

      1. philnc

        Re: My users are loving Teams!

        A private Exchange group and SharePoint site get created whenever a Team is set up by a user. By default I think retention is set to forever. I'll take your word for that being subject to global policy.

        The ability for users to spin up these resources on their own with Teams is a big selling point for me. Traditionally enterprise IT has liked to maintain firm control of those kinds of things, but clearly MS is taking us in a different direction: probably for the better.

        Oh, and if your rolling out Teams you'd best polish your PoweShell skills. A lot of what gets set up can't be managed in the current admin guis. But that's also inevitable since a moderately sized company is probably going to wind up with 1,000's, not 100's, of Teams in a short time.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Office 365 data is perused by MS employees who are officially looking for child porn, byebye GDPR compliance"

    Only for publically shared data. Otherwise that would already be illegal in the EU.

    "What will happen if MS loses it data protection case against federal government, it certainly looks like it will, byebye GDPR compliance in the cloud."

    Well no because Microsoft in the US dont have access to MS EU data without approval of a local data custodian. By design. And if they did ignore the GDPR, company officers would likely be imprisoned and the fines are up to 4% of global turn over PER INCIDENT!

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      Only for publically shared data. Otherwise that would already be illegal in the EU.

      How can we be sure that they only peruse "publicly shared" data, whatever you mean by that ? As for the illegality, sure, but who cares about laws, these days ... Windows 10 upgrade fiasco, anyone ?

      Well no because Microsoft in the US dont have access to MS EU data without approval of a local data custodian. By design.

      Well, they would have to change their design if they lose that case, would they not ?

      And if they did ignore the GDPR, company officers would likely be imprisoned and the fines are up to 4% of global turn over PER INCIDENT!

      That is exactly what I implied, especially if MS loses its case ... and I cannot see the supreme court telling USian 3 letter agencies to forget about obtaining digital data, which will be what this boils down to.

      1. Lusty

        "I cannot see the supreme court telling USian 3 letter agencies to forget about obtaining digital data, which will be what this boils down to."

        Nope not at all, this boils down to telling them to use existing international treaties to obtain data in any form. Microsoft are fighting this case because as a case law it would give the US carte blanche access to any data without redress and effectively end US tech companies, especially those in the cloud space. Microsoft would prefer to keep its customers in other countries.

  11. rmason Silver badge

    always odd on an IT page

    It's always amusing to see the rants and raves about how terrible certain things are, when the majority just highlight they've not got it set up correctly, or are making incorrect assumptions, or are using it wrong.

    I don't think there's a single "why doesn't skype/teams do X, Y or Z" reply on here that's actually been correct. The answer seems to be "but it does do all that" in all cases.

    1. AmyInNH

      Re: always odd on an IT page

      "It's always amusing to see " incompetent UI engineering blaming users, as though users were not who they wrote it for.

      Build from the user inward, not the tech outward.

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