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Microsoft and Meta agree integration deal between Teams and Workplace

Features from both business collaboration platforms will be available to users without having to switch apps

Microsoft and Meta have announced a partnership that will see features from both companies' collaboration platforms integrate into one another to allow for cross-platform capabilities.

Formerly known as Facebook Workplace, Workplace by Meta will soon integrate features from Microsoft Teams into its own platform, such as livestreaming Teams video directly into Workplace groups.

The integration goes both ways and it will see certain Workplace content also becoming available to users on Teams.

Workplace will be integrated into Microsoft's software using an app within Teams which can be pinned to its navigation bar, if a user wishes. Once selected, a Workplace 'pane' will become visible to the side of the UI, which can easily be hidden or re-opened.

The move is a significant step for the two platforms the collaboration software market as a whole. With the launch of Workplace by Facebook in late 2016 being closely followed by Microsoft Teams in March 2017, the two platforms were considered rivals in a contested market that had, up until then, been dominated by the likes of Slack.

Although Workplace is pitched as a much more rounded tool for creating company forums, and Teams is better suited for instant collaboration between smaller teams, the two platforms effectively target the same enterprise audience.

“One thing I learned from the pandemic is that companies don’t just rely on one tool to get their work done, so it is our responsibility as leaders in the space to make sure the tools they use integrate and interoperate with each other,” said Jeff Teper, CVP product and engineering at Microsoft Teams.

Users on both platforms will also be able to interact with meetings hosted on the other, such as commenting and offering emoji-driven reactions, without having to swap apps.

Workplace by Meta said Vodafone, Flight Centre Travel Group, and Lockton - three of its customers - have already been trialling the integration. Flight Centre Travel Group said they use Workplace to foster a cross-company community and use Teams for cross-company collaboration, adding that the integration allows staff to access the information they need quicker.

Ujjwal Singh, head of Workplace at Meta, also said the integration had specifically been requested by Workplace customers Vodafone and Accenture, according to CNBC.

"The way our customers end up using it is customers use the complementary features, not the competing features," he told the broadcaster. "There are customers that are just Workplace shops, and then there are customers that are just Teams shops. This is really for those customers that use both."

The announcement deepens the partnership between the two companies as they vie for market share in the collaboration space. Workplace already supports integration into Microsoft SharePointOneDrive, and the Office 365 suite.

Workplace can also be integrated into Microsoft Azure AD and was named in the top 15 apps used on the platform in 2020. Additionally, Microsoft Teams will become available on Meta Portal starting in December.

The integration comes as a free update which is available to download now, though customers will have to wait until later in 2022 before they can stream meetings and broadcasts from Teams into Workplace.

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