Slack adds tighter integrations with Microsoft Outlook, OneDrive

New Slack apps for Outlook calendar and email, plus an updated Slack OneDrive app are available to users who want more seamless collaboration between Slack and Microsoft Office.

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Slack and Microsoft compete head-to-head in the group-chat space. But that doesn't mean Slack can simply try to wall-off its users from Microsoft's commonly used office-suite applications.

"Our customers wanted improved integrations with the Office 365 suite," says Brian Elliott, Vice President and General Manager of the Slack Platform.

On April 9, Slack outlined its plans to deliver on those users' requests. Slack is providing its users with dedicated Slack add-ins to connect to Outlook and OneDrive using Slack so that they can check calendars and share email attachments more seamlessly.

Slack now has an Outlook Calendar app for Slack that will allow users to respond to meeting requests; be notified of any potential scheduling conflicts; and provide a link to Skype for Business, Webex or Zoom meetings scheduled via Outlook. The app also will allow users to automatically sinc their Outlook calendars with the Slack status and forward emails from their Outlook inboxes directly into any of their Slack channels or direct messages.

Slack also is updating its OneDrive app for Slack to make sharing and collaborating on files stored in OneDrive easier. Users also can locally preview Office files, like PowerPoint presentations or Word documents in Slack.

I asked Elliott whether Slack and Microsoft had collaborated to make these integrations happen. He said that Slack used the publicly available Microsoft application platform interfaces (APIs) and that Slack and Microsoft's Azure teams had talked about back-end integrations recently.

Slack is interested in providing the integrations with all third party services its customers want, Elliott reiterated. And in the office-suite game, there are basically two big players -- Google and Microsoft. Slack already has done integrations in the email space with Google.