Slack vs Microsoft: Au Revoir Teams?

This Week in IT, are you ready for a big change coming to Microsoft 365? From Teams’ surprising move in Europe to a game-changing update for multi-tenant collaboration. Plus, a CPU glitch that might be causing Windows 11 to crash—stay tuned, as I’m breaking it all down!


This Week in IT, are you ready for big changes coming to Microsoft 365? From Teams’ surprising move in Europe to a game-changing update for multi-tenant collaboration. Plus, a CPU glitch might be causing Windows 11 PCs to crash. Stay tuned as I’m breaking it all down. Welcome to This Week in IT, where I cover all the latest Microsoft 365 and Windows News.

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So, why is Microsoft suddenly unbundling Teams from Microsoft 365? Are they being forced to do it? This week Microsoft announced it was removing Teams from some of its offerings in the European Economic Area and Switzerland because of pressure from the European Commission and accusations of anti-competitive practices. This all started back in 2020 when Slack filed a complaint with the European Commission about anti-competitive behaviour because Microsoft was bundling its Teams product with Microsoft 365. They basically cited that this is behaviour that Microsoft has exhibited in the past during that browser wars period during the late 90s and 2000s, where Microsoft was including Internet Explorer with Windows.

So, Slack was basically saying that well this is typical behaviour from Microsoft there, including an inferior copycat product with the operating system in the terms of Internet Explorer. And now they’re repeating that behaviour with Teams, so saying that essentially Teams is like a copycat of Slack, which of course it kind of is. I think there’s no denying that it was inspired by Slack. But whether it’s inferior, that’s difficult to say.

Actually Slack is going to go through a bit of a redesign later this year and what we’ve seen so far, the UI, guess what? It looks a bit like a Teams copycat. They’re essentially making the whole thing simpler and hopefully easier to pick up and use. This is a bit of a funny accusation from Slack about the whole copycat thing, when Slack is essentially now trying to copy to a certain extent of course the Teams user interface. So you’re probably already aware everything moves very slowly with the European Commission. So despite the fact that Slack had filed this complaint back in 2020, it only announced it was starting its investigation last month. Now this week Microsoft has responded to that, preempting maybe the outcome of that. I didn’t expect the decision to be made by the European Commission for many many months to come, as the investigation has obviously only just got underway, but Microsoft have announced some changes. As part of this announcement, Microsoft has defended their bundling of Teams as part of Microsoft 365.

They go back and say that they have essentially included some kind of chat collaboration solution as part of, well first Office 365, then Microsoft 365, going back all the way to 2007, starting with Office Communicator, then Link and then Skype for Business and then Teams. They believe that their customers want and need this kind of solution as part of a productivity package that they’re offering. But of course Microsoft knows that the European Commission is likely to rule against them, so they’re making some compromises with this upfront if you like. So what they’ve said essentially this week is that their unbundling Teams start in October the 1st from all of its enterprise offerings in Microsoft 365. So all of the plans that start with Ease, E3, E5. If you’re buying a subscription starting from October the 1st, if you want Teams you’re going to have to essentially pay for it separately. Of course as part of that they’re reducing the price of their enterprise plans by a couple of dollars and then charge in a couple of dollars if you choose to have Teams as part of that.

What’s interesting though about all of this is there’s less changes lower down if you like. So if you’re buying something for education or I think for government as well or the standard business plans for smaller businesses like standard business, business premium, those things are not having automatically Teams unbundled. But there will be a new offering that does offer the same plan but without Teams. So it depends on what level of a hierarchy you’re buying a subscription, whether these plans are changing dramatically or not. Now this only affects organizations that will be purchasing new licenses start in October the 1st. So if you have an existing plan this isn’t going to affect you, it doesn’t change anything. So I think it’s always nice to have the choice not to pay for Teams if you don’t want Teams but on the other hand I can’t imagine that if you’re fully invested into Microsoft 365 that it would then make sense to use Slack as your chat and collaboration solution. Especially as we start going more and more into the world of AI with all of these Microsoft 365 copilot solutions that are going to be integrated into things like Teams and other Microsoft 365 products like Word, PowerPoint and all the rest of it. It’s all going to rely on having your data in one place and of course if you start putting your data into other systems like Slack where Microsoft 365 doesn’t see it then AI and all of those automation features and all of the real goodness that comes with it is just going to be lost for you.

You’re just going to not be able to take advantage of it essentially. So I find it a little bit hard to imagine that enterprises are going to choose not to use Teams. It’s interesting that this investigation is ongoing it’s only just started and Microsoft are already making this announcement and I think you try and preempt the decision potentially and to make those changes upfront because they obviously understand that probably they’re going to have to make the changes anyway. Whether these changes go far enough of course is another question and we just have to wait for the European Commission ruling to understand what that’s going to be. But I’d love to know what you think about it in the comments below. Do you think this is a win for the competition?

Companies like Slack or do you think it’s a setback for integrated services? Microsoft has rolled out a big update to its new Teams client this week while we’re still on the subject of Teams that’s going to allow companies that have multi-tenant organization this configuration set up to allow their users to essentially have chats in Teams and video meetings and calls open in the Teams client at the same time across different organizations. Now I had to scratch my head a little bit when I first read this because to be honest I hadn’t heard of multi-tenant organization as a feature in Teams. What I did know about was the shared channels feature that allows organizations to open up a channel and collaborate with a business partner more easily but I hadn’t heard of this MTO as Microsoft often shorten it to. So the basic difference between these two features is that MTO is a much wider feature that allows a bigger and broader set of collaborations between one or two or more organizations whereas shared channels is much more specific and easier to set up that allows just a more granular configuration between two teams of people in two different organizations if that makes sense.

But I’m sure if you’re using multi-tenant organization as a feature in your tenant then I’m sure that these changes to the new Teams client are a welcome feature for your end users. If you downloaded the optional update for Windows 11, I think it was the end of last week sometime, then you could be facing a problem if any of your devices have an MSI motherboard with the latest BIOS update because people started reporting on Reddit I think that they were seeing blue screens of death with an unsupported processor error. Now Microsoft has acknowledged that this is a problem and they’re suggesting that people roll back the update. This is an optional update so you’re not forced to install it as for people who want to test it out. I think it brought some minor changes to the task bar and the way that search works. Just very minor things that Microsoft wants to test and that will integrate into the update for Patch Tuesday in September. So probably this of course isn’t affecting a huge amount of people because it’s not something that you’re forced to install but just be aware of that if you have any users that have control over their own updates.

You might just want to block this for the time being. If you’re a new customer and you’re about to sign up for a OneDrive for business plan there’s no longer going to be the option for unlimited storage. So you’re going to need to sign up for a plan that offers a maximum of one terabyte. Microsoft is planning to offer in some limited form the option to pay for up to five terabytes of data but this again won’t affect existing subscribers who already have unlimited storage but if you’re planning to sign up in the near future then this change might affect you. Microsoft announced that for its Exchange Server on-premises customers that with the 2023 H2 cumulative update they’re going to be enabling extended protection by default. Now extended protection was something they introduced I think last year for Exchange Online and it was designed to strengthen the I think the NTLM protocol to block some man-in-the-middle attacks that were becoming a problem and now they’re rolling out that feature for on-premises Exchange Servers. Now apparently there are going to be ways to opt out of this if you install the updates through the command line or it’s a bit complicated of course but of course it’s not recommended to opt out of it. There might be a reason why you need to do it some compatibility issue I don’t know. Of course it’s something that you should test in your environment to make sure that it doesn’t cause any issues. Microsoft Teams premium licenses.

Microsoft is planning to make this available to commercial customers as a self-service option so users will be able to essentially purchase it if they choose to do so. Now of course there will be some controls around whether you allow users to do this and all the rest of it. Microsoft Teams premium is something that I think was announced was it kind of around Ignite last year or has it existed longer than that I don’t remember but it’s a bit of a strange thing because they’ve been talking about it for a long time and there’s all those really great features like intelligent recaps of meetings and of course there’s going to be all this co-pilot integration with it I guess that are coming soon coming soon so I’m not really sure what the status of Teams premium is at the moment.

Of course there are some features there that might be valuable for certain organizations but I’m not sure that it’s quite something that I feel that our company shouldn’t necessarily purchase right now or that maybe you should be looking into seriously but when it does really hit a point where there’s a lot of real value added there then it’s something that users will be able to purchase and add on to their subscription themselves. Windows update for business. Microsoft is enhancing the metadata so that hopefully you can make better management decisions about updates.

Now these features and this new metadata information that’s going to be attached to the update catalog is as far as I can understand only going to be available programmatically through the graph API you know maybe in the future it will be possible to access this information through the various UIs and things but let’s see. So what is Microsoft doing? So there are going to be new properties like quality update classification and quality update cadence and these are designed to help organizations categorize products into updates you know security updates and non-security update types and to clarify their release frequency.

They’re also starting to use a well human or user-friendly naming convention and adding additional information so just to make it more friendly so that it’s easier to search the information within the catalog and they’re going to start adding information like the CVE information so like the severity rating and things like that to help you understand you know how important a particular security update is and all the rest of it and the maximum severity rating and a maximum score from the common vulnerability scoring system CVSS.

So you’re going to get all of this information now accessible via the graph. If you found this video useful I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a like because it helps to push it out to more people on YouTube and helps to grow the channel and if you want to see more weekly news updates like this on Microsoft 365 and Windows then please subscribe to the channel and hit the bell notification so that you get informed when a new video drops at the end of each week.

Thank you for watching the video let me know in the comments what you think about today’s show but that’s it from me today I’m going to leave you with another video that you might also find interesting and I’ll see you next time.