Meta and Microsoft enter into partnership: Workplace and Microsoft Teams achieve interoperability

Facebook parent Meta announced a partnership with Microsoft that will allow customers to integrate Meta’s Workplace social networking software with Microsoft’s Teams collaboration tool without having to switch between the two programs, according to foreign media reports.

The integration will allow customers to access Workplace content in the Teams application. Similarly, users can view Teams video conferences in the Workplace app. The app can optionally be pinned to the Teams navigation bar and will include a home page for Workplace content. Microsoft Teams administrators can also mark content as important to display in the Workplace app.

One of the lessons we’ve learned is that there won’t be just one communication tool in the world, said Jeff Teper, chief vice president of product and engineering at Microsoft Teams. People are going to choose many tools, so I think it’s our responsibility as a responsible vendor to make sure those applications are integrated and interoperable.”

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Tapper added, “We share a vision of providing choice and flexibility to our customers. So it’s significant for us to come together to help our mutual customers improve collaboration and break down silos within their organizations.”

The partnership between Meta and Microsoft brings together two competitors that compete in the enterprise communications software market. Workplace and Teams don’t exactly overlap, however; Workplace focuses on broad, enterprise-wide connections, while Teams focuses on instant communication between employees and colleagues.

Ujjwal Singh, head of Metas Workplace business, says customers including Vodafone and Accenture have asked for this integration.

Our customers are using the complementary features of Workplace and Teams rather than the competing features, Singh says. Some customers use Workplace, some use Teams, and we want to support those who use both.”

The partnership could prove beneficial for Meta, as its Workplace service lags far behind its competitors in terms of users.

In May of this year, Meta announced that it had reached 7 million paying subscribers for its Workplace. Microsoft announced in July that its Teams product now has 250 million monthly active users. Slack, which is owned by Salesforce, no longer publishes subscriber numbers, but the company said it had 12 million daily active users as of September 2019. As of June 2021, Slack’s paid subscribers increased nearly 39% year-over-year to 169,000.

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In addition to Teams, Microsoft has launched Yammer, an enterprise social networking software that competes more directly with Meta’s Workplace service. In August of this year, Microsoft said Yammer usage had doubled from a year earlier and had “tens of millions of monthly active users.”

Singh said that while Workplace already integrates with Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Azure Active Directory, OneDrive, and now Teams, it does not integrate with Yammer.

I would say we do the best job in terms of community, connection, putting people first and serving all employees,” Singh said. And Microsoft Teams is arguably the best product when it comes to productivity. So these are two of the best products that come together to solve employee problems.”

Microsoft Teams will also be available for Meta Portal devices in December, enabling the use of video calling in Teams. The latest integration of Teams and Workplace will go live on the same day, allowing organizations to share Workplace content with Teams. The Teams integration with Workplace will be available in early 2022.

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Microsoft and Meta are also gearing up to battle for the enterprise metaverse in the coming years. The two companies recently announced a similar vision for virtual spaces and meetings. Given these ongoing partnerships, further collaboration between the two companies in the areas of virtual reality and metaverse cannot be ruled out in the future.