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Facebook wants to take on Slack with free version of team collaboration tool Workplace

Facebook wants to take on Slack with free version of team collaboration tool Workplace

Facebook is looking to offer up a challenge to business messaging services like Slack and Microsoft Teams with a free version of its Workplace product.

CNBC claims the company will offer a lighter version of the team collaboration tool, which first launched last October, to the public for free.

Following a conversation with Facebook product manager Simon Cross, the report notes that the new product will look and feel similar to the original version, but will not offer the same administrative or analytics tools available to paying customers.

The paid-for version will be called Workplace Premium, while the regular tier will be known as Workplace Standard.

Workplace was launched last year by Mark Zuckerberg's company as a social media platform dedicated to business purposes. It operates distinctly from a user's own personal Facebook page and allows workers to create groups, chat, make pages and share files with co-employees.

The social behemoth is hoping that a free version of the software will encourage use by small businesses and firms in developing markets, with Cross saying: "Not every company wants to go through a full-scale enterprise deployment and not every company is in a position to pay for Workplace."

Workplace Free could also help Facebook advance its move into the business space, where rivals such as Slack have found success in removing reliance on traditional methods of workplace communication like email.

Slack, currently has 5 million daily active users and 1.5 million paying subscribers, and while Facebook has admitted to CNBC that it only has "thousands" of sign ups to Workplace it has a 2 billion-strong user count it can tap into for growth.

​Cross asserted the free service would launch "soon" but remained tight-lipped on when the product would be officially rolled out. He continued: "We hope it helps grow the number of companies that we're able to connect."

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