Whether or not Microsoft acknowledges it, Microsoft Teams is created to Slack as a rival. The online collaboration framework combines Microsoft Office 365 with group chat applications and a host of productivity tools. On the surface, Microsoft Teams looks very similar in appearance and feel to Slack. However, there are plenty of features and functions beneath the skin that differentiates the platforms.
Depending on the features you need, you might already have a strong winner in mind. But if you don’t, you can read our guide to help you find out which one is right for you.
Slack’s free plan offers a 1:1 voice or video call. However, if you need additional callers at a single conference, you will need a paid plan that supports up to 15 callers at a time.
Teams, meanwhile, has much superior video conferencing capabilities. On most tiers, including the free version, you can hold web or video conferencing meetings of up to 300 participants. It is worth noting, though, that the free version only provides a limit of 300 people until 30 June 2021.
Office 365 E3 Tier is offering a limit of 10,000 users. Teams also offer the option to log meetings in their premium tiers (which Slack does not) and provide screen sharing (which Slack only has in premium tiers). This is a benefit for team-oriented or bigger organizations where this method of conferencing is common.
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams provide very common chat threads for messages like plain text and tags. Both support GIFs, but Teams simply have a more comprehensive way to completely express your messages. For example, if you want to insert a GIF in your Slack post, you need to enter a command like “/giphy image name.”
In Teams, you’ll see a toolbar at the bottom that offers access to a library of GIFs and stickers. You may also press the Sticker button to create a personalized meme. Slack does provide connectivity with Bitmoji and related programs, but it’s not native and easy to use as seen with Teams.
As far as customizing the message interface is concerned, Slack provides a greater range. You can switch between light and dark themes in order to alter the overall look. For a more personalized feel, you can swap sidebar colors between different preset choices that match your overall theme or build a custom theme for yourself.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s client easily swaps between three general themes: default (light), dark, and high contrast. Despite Windows-based client roots, there are no unique color choices.
The free Slack model provides 5GB of file storage for a single team. Paid plans increase the size to 10GB, 20GB, or 1TB per user, depending on the package. There is also a limit of 10,000 messages in the free edition message history, which disappears for premium versions.
The free Microsoft Teams model provides 10GB of total shared storage for all teams. Upgrading to Business Basic, Business Standard, or Office 365 E3 plans expand storage to 1TB for the whole organization, plus 10GB per license. There are no restrictions on the history of messages in the teams.
Slack’s free mode restricts app incorporation to 10. This roadblock is part of the pay-as-you-go plans and here businesses will take full advantage of Slack’s more than 2,200 software integration capabilities. If you’re using another productivity software at work, there’s a really strong possibility that it’s compatible with Slack.
Microsoft’s Teams platform takes a different approach. It offers unlimited integrations with other apps for all pricing tiers but only supports around 250 apps. However, Teams does have the best collaboration opportunities for Microsoft 365 provided it’s built to fit well with Microsoft’s suite. This may be the most critical factor for companies who use Microsoft 365.
Every Slack user is familiar with Slackbot. It’s your private chat window that you can use to send links and try integrations or GIFs, and it can also answer your questions. There are two built-in helper bots for Microsoft Teams: T-Bot and WhoBot.
T-Bot is similar to Slackbot as it lets you answer questions using data in Microsoft Teams, but it allows you multiple user interfaces (UIs) to do so. T-Bot is also the perfect way to start collaborating with Microsoft Teams.
WhoBot is where you start to see more pronounced variations in features. This bot is designed on the Microsoft Graph Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform and answers questions about individual employees. It’s effectively a bot that can search the company’s intranet from inside Microsoft Teams by moving data directly from Active Directory (AD).
Both applications deliver freemium versions, which are especially appealing to smaller companies that want to save money.
Slack provides unrestricted public and private networks, file sharing, 5GB storage, and 10 app integrations. The free plan also closes the viewable and searchable message history to 10,000 entries. There is no hint, though, that Slack’s free plan limits the number of people who have access to your workspace.
Meanwhile, the Teams portal provides unlimited communications, guest access, screen sharing, over 250 integrated applications, and utilities, and 2GB of storage per individual (10GB shared).
Of course, both providers offer premium bundles. The Slack Standard plan costs $6.67 per person per month when paid annually. Adds unlimited applications, increases storage to 10GB per member and allows screen sharing. You will have access to the entire history of the message.
Slack’s Plus package costs $12.50 per person per month when billed annually. Storage rises to 20GB per member, among other enhancements. There is also an Enterprise Grid package providing 1TB of storage for each member, but pricing involves a call to Slack’s sales department.
Microsoft Teams is offering three premium options. Microsoft 365 Business Basic has a 300-user cap for $5 per user per month when billed annually, but raises storage to 10GB per license. This package also adds OneDrive integration, Exchange email hosting, meeting recordings, Microsoft support, and more. The Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan retains a limit of 300 users but extends productivity applications like Word, Excel, and Publisher to laptop versions. You also have 10GB of your license. The plan costs $12.50 per user per month when billed annually.
Last but not the least, Office 365 E3 costs $20 per user per month when billed annually and you get a huge boost in the overall number of users (500,000!). However, the free option still provides a maximum of 500,000 users. Office 365 E3 also provides remote event management for up to 10,000, unlimited chat attachments, and unlimited personal cloud storage.
Which Collab Program is Better?
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams are great chat apps for businesses and organizations. In the end, the decision between the two depends on what you’re looking for in the collaboration app. Double-check with Slack and Teams if you need a specific type of product integration to see if they support the applications.
Overall, Slack is a little more familiar and a bit more “comfortable” considering that it’s been running the collaboration pack for so many years. It’s also an independent application that could work well with a more platform-agnostic group. For this reason, it is the best option for most organizations and teams looking for a secure communication platform.
However, there is definitely a place for Microsoft Teams. It’s best for larger, more dynamic businesses. If a business already subscribes to Office or Microsoft 365, connecting to Teams is a perfect option in terms of functionality and pricing. In particular, more robust video conferencing by Teams can be a massive attraction for businesses of dispersed staff spread across the globe.