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SEATTLE -- Microsoft is taking the bubble wrap off its challenge to startup Slack's white-hot workplace-messaging software, officially introducing Microsoft Teams.

At stake is the fast-changing realm of business communication, which, in addition to staples like email, has come to include digital messaging services and voice and video calls often handled over the Internet instead of using telephone infrastructure.

Research firm Gartner estimates that businesses worldwide will spend $5.1 billion on Web conferencing, collaboration and social tools in 2017.

Microsoft, headquartered outside Seattle, has tried to hold its ground in the sector by packing Office 365 with new features, some of which, like Teams, come at no extra charge.

The company's would-be Slack killer, built in the past two years, enters a more crowded market than when it was introduced in a preview version a few months ago.

Google has come calling. Microsoft's nemesis has redesigned its Hangouts chat app with Slack-like features, unveiling the new concept at a company event earlier this month. Facebook is also in the midst of a push to sell workplace collaboration tools.

-- The Seattle Times

SundayMonday Business on 03/20/2017

Print Headline: Microsoft adds Teams to Office 365

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