Facebook’s Slack competitor, Workplace, is finally here

For almost two years now, Facebook has been beta testing a version of its social network specifically for the office. Now it’s finally available to the masses: The company announced Monday that Facebook at Work, now dubbed Workplace, is live and out of beta.

The service works almost exactly like regular Facebook, but instead of interacting with a network of friends and family, Workplace users interact with a network of co-workers. Facebook will charge its enterprise customers a per-user subscription fee each month to use the product.

Workplace represents Facebook’s first major move into the world of enterprise software, and will offer some immediate competition to existing players, primarily Slack, the popular office communication tool valued at nearly $4 billion.

Facebook’s sales pitch: Most people already know how to use Facebook, so you won’t spend time or resources teaching employees how to use Workplace. Also, it’s cheap.

Here’s Facebook’s pricing model:

  • $3 per user for companies with fewer than 1,000 monthly active users
  • $2 per user for companies with 1,001 – 10,000 monthly active users
  • $1 per user for companies with 10,000+ monthly active users

Slack, for comparison, offers a completely free version of its service for customers, but its “standard” service, which includes basics like unlimited message storage and group phone calls, is $6.67 per user per month.

So Facebook took its sweet time getting into the enterprise game — the company initially told us there would be a live version by the end of 2015 — but now it’s coming in with a product people know and a price that certainly feels competitive.

One thing Facebook won’t offer is a document tool, a la Microsoft Word or Excel. "The priority for us is for everybody in the company to use the basic product and then we will explore other projects,” Julien Codorniou, the head of Workplace, told Recode.

For those concerned that using Facebook in the office might hurt productivity: Workplace is entirely separate from Facebook’s signature social network. Workplace requires its own login, its own mobile app, and you can’t toggle between professional and personal accounts. So the two experiences are very separate. At least for now.

Another important thing to note: Workplace is an advertisement-free service. The social network will not use your office postings or communications to serve you ads (hence the subscription fee).

Facebook already has more than 1,000 businesses on the product thanks to its lengthy beta period, but has not been charging them. Now it will.


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