Over the years, CEO Satya Nadella has has slowly but surely turned Microsoft into a real rival to Facebook and Instagram by taking a new approach to social media platforms. He has managed to build the firm into something of social media “powerhouse,” thanks to a series of acquisitions and launches. Microsoft is now launching Viva Engage today, a new Facebook-like app inside Teams that encourages social networking at work.
Viva Engage builds on some of the strengths of Yammer, promoting digital communities, conversations, and self-expression in the workplace. While Yammer often feels like an extension of SharePoint and Office, Viva Engage looks like a Facebook replica. It includes a storylines section, which is effectively your Facebook news feed, featuring conversational posts, videos, images, and more. It looks and feels just like Facebook, and it’s clearly designed to feel similar so employees will use it to share news or even personal interests.
RBC Analyst Rishi Jaluria has said that the basic difference between Microsoft’s model and that of its competitors, lies in the fact that the former has opted to go with purpose-based platforms, in contrast to the all-purpose versions on Instagram and Facebook. As such, Microsoft Teams has been increasingly positioned as the hub for work and communications at Microsoft, and the pandemic has certainly sped up businesses’ transition to hybrid work and the need for apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack. Teams is now the natural point where employees communicate and share for many businesses and has increasingly become its own form of a social network for many employees running Teams channels.
Microsoft Moderation and Censorship
At the same time, the firm has also faced quite a few hurdles, mostly surrounding content moderation and compliance with laws, similar to the ones that Facebook faces on a regular basis. Earlier this month, it was announced that LinkedIn China would be shutting down amid growing internet censorship.
Still, Stifel analyst Dan Reback says that the very scale of social media should be more than enough to lure Microsoft into trying even harder to fit into the trend, and focus on “large outsized opportunities.”
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