Microsoft is making a belated move into the world of social media with the new Viva Engage platform that was announced earlier this week. Viva Engage is going to reside with the Teams app, which suggests Microsoft is pitching this social networking platform at work.
The look and feel of Viva Engage can easily confuse you into thinking you have logged into Facebook, and if it weren’t for the name change, we would have believed it as well. It has a news feed which includes posts as well as videos.
You have other settings on the left side of the screen, and the option to join other communities on your right. It seems the company has gone with a tried-and-tested approach, and why not, it did work for Facebook for years.
Having said that, social media feels like a frontier that Microsoft has never conquered, even though it spent over a billion to finally crack the code with the acquisition of Yammer some 10 years back.
So, bringing a platform into Teams with a Facebook-like design might not be the best way to differentiate itself from the others in the market. Over the years we have seen that copying features have proven to be quite a success. So, it is possible Microsoft wants the same recipe to work for it as well.
The Meta-related features don’t end with the design for Viva Engage, which also has Stories, like the one you have on Instagram and Snapchat. The main difference here is that you are sharing moments with your co-workers, instead of friends and families. Microsoft’s attempt in the social networking arena is likely to get Meta’s attention, even though most of its focus will be on businesses.
Teams has become a competitive force alongside Zoom, Google Meet and Slack in the past two years. Microsoft is hoping Viva Engage gives it the extra edge over the other platforms.