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Microsoft debuts Teams chat platform with support for Mac & iOS

Microsoft on Wednesday announced Teams, its own attempt at a workplace chat platform akin to rivals like HipChat and Slack, with support for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, and the Web.

The platform integrates with Microsoft's Office 365 suite, as well as outside services like Hootsuite, Intercom, and Zendesk, Microsoft said. Chats can be persistent or threaded, and of course public or private. For voice and video conferencing, Microsoft is offering Skype integration.

Workspaces can be populated with stickers, GIFs, and emoji, as well more practical enhancements through support for extensions and open APIs.

Microsoft is promising enterprise-grade security, including two-factor authentication, but also single sign-on through Active Directory, and support for its cross-app membership program, Office 365 Groups.

At the moment Teams is only a preview stage, and limited to Office 365's Business and Enterprise plans. It is, however, being tested in 181 countries and 18 languages, and will make its official debut in early 2017.