Microsoft will launch a Slack-killer next week

More details are trickling out about Microsoft’s plans to launch a Slack-killer chat app, which is expected to be announced next week at a Microsoft Office event in New York on November 2.

The product will be called Microsoft Teams, reports The Verge’s Tom Warren, although it was originally, internally dubbed Skype Teams.

Like Slack, it’s a chat app that offers “channels,” which are different chat rooms that various work teams can set up for themselves.

Screenshots of the new app leaked nearly two months ago, published by MSPoweruser’s Mehedi Hassan. They show that the app will also have “threaded conversations,” in which people can reply to comments like a Facebook comment thread.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it should. There was a company called Yammer that billed itself as Facebook for work that Microsoft bought in 2012 for $1.2 billion. Microsoft then integrated Yammer into Office 365 (and a feature called Office 365 Groups). Yammer still lives today and it looks strikingly similar to the leaked photos of Microsoft Teams.

So whether teams is a brand new product separate from Yammer or some kind of offshoot, we’ll likely find out next week.

The new chat room product comes after reports that Microsoft executive VP Qi Lu wanted to buy Slack for $8 billion last spring. But, the story goes, founder Bill Gates wasn’t on board and so CEO Satya Nadella killed the idea. Lu is no longer with Microsoft. He left in September citing health reasons.

This is what a threaded conversations look like in Yammer.

Yammer 2016MicrosoftYammer

Here’s a screen shot of Microsoft Teams as leaked to MSPosweruser.

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