Microsoft announced the newest product, Microsoft Loop in Q4 2021. The echo was amazing. So, how is the status today (end Q1/2022) – what is already available and what and when will be the next steps?
The expectations for Loop are high. Microsoft achieved that with brilliant marketing. Many of my customers already asked me:
Can I replace my Confluence with Loop?
Asking for the reason of that question, all customers answer the same:
- Confluence is too expensive
- Atlassian is forcing me to the Cloud
- The extra cost for single sign on is too high
- Confluence is confusing
Of course, these points are all a matter of taste. I find it interesting that these answers are given almost identically by all customers despite of their industry. So Microsoft has managed to hit a nerve with its advertising promises! Reason enough to take a look at the current development status a quarter of a year later:
Loop Components are an extension for Teams Chats, enabling the users to collaborate in real-time. Users can create plans, manage tasks & lists and similar. Components arrived in Q4/2021 (in Teams Preview versions). Based on the Fluid Framework, the files are stored inside OneDrive for Business of the initiating user. With externals the Components unfortunately do not work. You can find more information here in these articles:
Here a lot happened. It is sad that Loop Components do not work with Externals, but that feature will come one day (I hope so).
Hint: Loop Components work with Guest accounts! But not with Externals.
Loop Pages are notyet here. But you can simulate them. The simulation doesn’t work stable, which isn’t surprising because this way of simulation is surely not ‘by design’ from Microsoft. What am I talking about? Look:
Each fluid file has its own OneDrive link. You can open it in a browser and then a web page opens that appears as if it would be a Loop Page:
This maybe a harbinger of Loop Pages, but nobody know if that is really the case. The try to add this as a website tab to Teams is sometimes working and sometimes not. The Teams webclient is refusing to load that tab. You must use a browser. As I said, I believe this way of use is not intended by Microsoft, so I don’t spend too much time on that.
Being able to open the fluid files in a browser is nice, but not the last word in wisdom. So lets wait what Microsoft will deliver here in the coming months.
Loop Workspaces are probably the most eagerly awaited functions from the Loop triumvirate. Exactly about this many await it to be a cheap(er) alternative to Confluence. If Microsoft indeed will release it like promoted in the product videos, then only the price must be good and then many Confluence customers will migrate for sure. I personally am waiting really eager, I can spontaneously think of a few application areas where the Loop workspaces can bring real added value:
- IT documentation
- process documentation
- internal news sites
- project communication and planning support
- write long text with many people (e.g. internal news, write a book, design blog articles, …)
As of today, there are no signs of the Loop workspaces yet (not even in the Developer Preview), so let’s wait and have some coffee.
Roadmap and wishes
Loop is still at the beginning and a lot is going to happen. Currently only Loop Components are available. The Loop Pages are planned for the second half of 2022. This statement is very vague and I have not received it in a reliable way.
Loop steckt noch ganz am Anfang und es wird noch einiges passieren. Aktuell sind nur die Loop Components verfügbar. Die Loop Pages sind für das zweite Halbjahr 2022 geplant. Diese Aussage ist sehr vage und ich habe sie auch nicht belastbar erhalten. So it remains to be taken with a grain of salt. Nothing can be found on the official Microsoft 365 roadmap:
No indication on the roadmap can mean that the internal priority at Microsoft is not so very high. Or Microsoft waits with the announcement until the rollout is about to come into the targeted release tenants. This could save them a flood of customer questions 🙂
Currently there is no statement about:
- When will Loop Components work with Externals?
- When will Loop Workspaces be released?
So here the same: let’s wait and have some coffee. For me personally, the Workspaces are most important. But I believe Microsoft will build the Workspaces on Loop Pages. So if Pages will really come in the second half of 2022, the chance for the release of Workspaces also in 2022 is low. We will have to be patient. But maybe this topic will be pushed after the Pages release – we will see.
One important question is still open: What will Loop cost? As of today, nothing is public. I personally do not think that Microsoft will set a high price – if any. And even if Loop does become partially chargeable, I will buy the license – that’s for sure!