Developed by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products, Microsoft Teams is a proprietary business communication platform for small and medium-sized businesses. In terms of competition, Teams is mainly in competition with the comparable service Slack, which provides workplace chat and videoconferencing, as well as file storage and application integration. The Microsoft Teams corporate messaging and collaboration platform will replace existing Microsoft-operated business messaging and collaboration services, such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Classroom. While the COVID-19 epidemic was underway, Teams and other collaboration tools, like Zoom and Google Meeting, drew a great deal of attention, since many meetings were held in a virtual setting. It is expected to have around 250 million users by 2021.
The acquisition of Parlano and its persistent group chat software, MindAlign, by Microsoft took place on August 29, 2007. On March 4, 2016, Microsoft said that it was considering an offer of $8 billion for Slack, but that Bill Gates was opposed to the acquisition, saying that the company should instead concentrate on developing Skype for Business instead. Qi Lu, Executive Vice President of Applications and Services, was in charge of the drive to acquire Slack. After Lu left the company later that year, Microsoft introduced Teams to the public on November 2, 2016, positioning it as a direct rival to Slack.