Microsoft’s previously announced mobile development toolkit and app-connector services are available in most of the world as of Tuesday. But the real news expected this week is the widely anticipated public debut of Microsoft’s answer to Slack, the popular work-focused chat and messaging application.
Microsoft is expected to unveil its take, which some are calling Microsoft Teams, on Wednesday at a New York event, according to various tech news outlets. The product was once known internally as Skype Teams. Microsoft bought Yammer, a business-focused chat product for $1.2 billion in cash four years ago and has since integrated it into its Office 365 applications. It’s unclear whether Microsoft Teams builds on that or is a brand new effort.
Fortune reached out to Microsoft (MSFT) for comment and will update this story as needed. To date, the company has not really acknowledged the existence of a proposed Slack competitor.
But Slack itself is clearly ready to rumble. The day after Microsoft’s event, Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield will host his own meeting in New York City. And the company helpfully sent out its latest stats: It now claims 4 million daily active users and 5.8 million weekly active users. More than 1.25 million of these use the paid version including those associated with corporate accounts like IBM (IBM), Autodesk (ADSK), eBay, Conde Nast, LinkedIn (soon to become part of Microsoft) and Time Inc. (the parent company of Fortune).
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It’s anyone’s guess as to when Microsoft might actually reach market with its Slack rival. Meanwhile, the software giant has managed to ship two products it has been talking up for months.
PowerApps, announced a year ago, was designed to make it easier to build or connect mobile business applications that take advantage of Microsoft Azure cloud computing services on the backend. That means apps for Apple iPhone or Android devices, not just Windows machines, which is in keeping with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile first, cloud first mandate.
At the time of that announcement Ray Wang, president of Constellation Research, characterized PowerApps as “coding for noncoders, democratizing apps creation for normal peeps.” He likened it to the Salesforce (CRM) Lightning app development initiative.
The other product shipping this week, Microsoft Flow, is basically the company’s take on If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, both of which act as software connective tissue that lets consumers knit their various apps and data services together in workflows that make sense to them.
You could, for example, use these technologies to ensure that if you get an email from your supervisor, it would trigger a text notification to your smartphone. Or if you update your work documents, all the revisions are automatically stored in Sharepoint or other team document repository.
Both PowerApps and Flow will be included in Dynamics 365, a big rollup of the company’s business applications, also available Tuesday.