Facebook’s Slack killer is coming to an office near you

28 Sep 2016

Julien Codorniou, head of Facebook at Work, says the new Facebook at Work platform will keep workers engaged. Image: Le Web

‘Facebook at Work’ is expected to launch next month.

Designed particularly for the working environment, Facebook at Work has been in private beta since January of this year.

Following a private beta it is expected to launch next month (October).

Future Human

The enterprise version is similar to the consumer version in that it offers News Feed, Groups, Events and a dedicated Messenger app that will be company specific.

The enterprise offering will also include audio and video calling.

The new business-focused social network could easily head off LinkedIn and its $26bn acquirer Microsoft in creating a new technology plain that could define how we work for the coming decades. In doing so, it leaves the world of phones and office servers in the past.

Facebook at Work will have a fee per user

Facebook is taking a bit of a gamble with the decision to charge a “per monthly active user” fee. Slack is currently free up to a certain point and other than charging individuals for premium versions with extra snooping powers, LinkedIn is free too.

In an interview with The Information, the director of Facebook at Work, Julien Codorniou, explained that the company is embarking on a pricing plan to keep individual employees engaged with the product.

Facebook is understood to be partnering with various software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform providers such as Asana to roll the platform out in accordance with CIO security expectations.

The price has yet to be determined, with some reports suggesting it could cost $1 to $5 per user. Slack, for example, charges $6.67 per active user which gives them real-time messaging tools.

Since January, some 5.2m beta testers have been testing Facebook at Work.

Again, this will be another drive by an over-the-top (OTT) internet player that could drive a wedge into the traditional corporate IT and comms market enjoyed by telecoms operators and system integrators, as well as players like Avaya and Cisco.

Things are about to get very interesting.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years