Microsoft's Slack competitor is getting Cortana integration and message translation

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 incoming

Microsoft's Slack rival gets translation and Surface Hub compatibility

"Over the previous year, Teams has evolved to become the ultimate hub for teamwork", said Redmond.

Effectively a giant Windows 10 touchscreen PC with a unique UI, the Surface Hub is typically mounted on meeting room walls, but can be set up as a table top interface.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) says 200K organizations now use its Teams, a Slack alternative, up from 125K in September. Effectively a new product category, Microsoft is keen to build on its momentum with a hardware refresh.

Also this morning, Microsoft announced new features slated to be released for Teams, including cloud recording of online meetings with transcription and time-coding; real-time language translation for Teams channels and chat; integration of Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant; and the ability to share content from a smartphone with other attendees in an online meeting.

To soften the blow, Microsoft has announced some new Teams features to arrive at some undefined point in the future, possibly the second quarter of 2018. More details are expected in the coming months.

And despite market concern at Cortana's future, Microsoft said it will add Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.

Background blurring of video calls will allow Team users to pretend they are not really calling from the pub.

Beyond the Surface Hub and internal devices, the Teams hardware ecosystem now also includes meeting room systems from HP and Lenovo; new desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink; new conference room phones from Creston, Polycom, and Yealink; and new mobile phone stations from Plantronics.

The last two additions will be proximity detection for Teams Meetings, to make it easier for people to discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.

Whether a customer chooses to use the Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing will come down to pricing considerations and existing relationships, she added.

Mobile sharing in meetings, enabling attendees to share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.

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