Microsoft is discouraging the use of Slack, Google Docs, and Amazon Web Services to push employees to use in-house tools

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Microsoft is discouraging the use of Slack, Google Docs, and Amazon Web Services to push employees to use in-house tools
Collaborative workplace tools Slack, Google Docs and backend infra platform AWS have been categorised as ‘discouraged for use’ by Microsoft
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Microsoft has reportedly banned its employees from using the free version of Slack, in addition to discouraging the use of other rival products like Google Docs and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The news comes after an internal note was made public.

The ban on the use of rival services might seem like a competition issue at first, but Microsoft’s concerns seem related to security. The internal note posted by The Verge says, “Slack Free, Slack Standard and Slack Plus versions do not provide required controls to properly protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP).”

Microsoft is the purveyor of ‘Teams’, a collaborative workplace app similar to Slack, and the internal note has encouraged its employees to use the Teams app. The note states - “Existing users of these solutions should migrate chat history and files related to Microsoft business to Microsoft Teams, which offers the same features and integrated Office 365 apps, calling and meeting functionality.”

While Microsoft has not explicitly banned its employees from using the Slack Enterprise Grid, a paid product, the internal memo has encouraged the internal teams to use an in-house solution instead of a “competitive software”.

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No love for Github as well

Surprisingly, even the Microsoft-owned Github has been added to the “discouraged for use” list along with Google Docs and AWS, highlighting that “Highly Confidential types of information, specs or code” should be kept away from the code-hosting platform.

Red-line on Grammarly

While employees have been allowed to use G-Docs and AWS should there be a business justification, there is a clear, outright ban on Grammarly, a grammar-checking service. Grammerly’s product depends on the service receiving typed content for the service to check writing and grammar. Microsoft’s red-flag points towards the service being able to access “Information Rights Management (IRM) protected content within emails and documents”.


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