Here's the Slack-sized mountain Microsoft's new chat app will have to climb

Things are heating up in the world of workplace chat.

Last week, Microsoft took the lid off of Teams, a new chatting app aimed squarely at Slack and Atlassian HipChat. In response, Slack took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to “welcome” the Redmond tech giant to the market. Meanwhile, shortly after Teams launched, Microsoft exec Ron Markezich referred to tools like Slack as “applications du jour.”

“Little companies come and go,” Markezich said in an interview with Business Insider. Harsh!

As this chart from Statista shows, though, Microsoft is taking on one of the hottest startups in tech. Since its launch in August 2013, Slack’s growth has been like rocketship, and now it claims four million daily active users and 1.25 million paid users.

Still, Markezich has a point. While Slack hasn’t stopped growing, that growth has started to slow, and there are now legitimate questions over whether or not the app’s simple, relatively feature-lite UI can scale beyond smaller companies. With Teams, Microsoft thinks it can hit startups and the enterprise.

Will it? We’ll start to find out when Teams launches in early 2017. For now, it will be interesting to see how Slack tries to keep the ship fuelled.

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