24 June 2019
We know that rivalries between companies, especially tech companies, can get pretty intense. There have been various instances in the history where one particular company takes unexpected and strange steps to take on its rivals. Microsoft seems to be the latest addition to the list as it is reported to have an actual list of competing products/services that cannot be used by its employees internally.
The particular list has been obtained by online publication GeekWire which is said to be including some surprising names. The biggest name included in the list is Slack which is a collaboration tool used by millions of workers to coordinate with other workers and on projects. It is a direct competitor to Microsoft Teams offering which seems to be the reason Microsoft has banned its employees from using Slack internally. But if we talk about official reasoning, it is said to be security as the app does not provide any way of keeping Microsoft IP safe and secure.
Here is the official statement,
"Slack Free, Slack Standard, and Slack Plus versions do not provide required controls to properly protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP). Existing users of these solutions should migrate chat history and files related to Microsoft business to Microsoft Teams, which offers the same features and integrated Office 365 apps, calling and meeting functionality. Learn more about the additional features that Teams can provide your workgroup. Slack Enterprise Grid version complies with Microsoft security requirements; however, we encourage the use of Microsoft Teams rather than competitive software."
In other words, Microsoft's ban applies to Slack's free version which is the one popular among the majority of its users. The paid version can still be used but considering its pricing, it is unlikely that a Microsoft employee would ditch Teams suite and go for it. Interestingly, Slack completed its IPO last week where it managed to surpass the predicted valuation and reached $23 billion.
Microsoft also has a "discouraged list" of apps and services which it recommends not be used within the working premises. It includes services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Docs, and Github's cloud version. It wants employees to make use of its own offerings Azure cloud services and Office 365 suite instead of the first two competing services unless they can provide a "business justification". As for Github, it does not want workers to use it while working on “Highly Confidential types of information, specs or code.”
While Microsoft's official reasoning for banning or discouraging these apps and services is all about maintaining safety and security, it also seems to be a desperate attempt at stopping its workers from using competing products. What do you think about this move from the Redmon-based tech giant? Share your thoughts with us using the comments section below.