Microsoft is acquiring the Chalkup classroom collaboration platform and hiring its founder to work on Microsoft’s Teams product.
“Chalkup is joining Microsoft Education,” according to the headline on a February 13 blog post on the Chalkup company web site. Chalkup’s founder Justin Chando will be joining Microsoft Education, according to Microsoft’s February 13 blog post about the deal.
Microsoft’s new ‘Slack competitor’ has improved dramatically since the preview, and new features are arriving regularly. Where it shines is threaded chat, easy video meetings and superb integration with other Office 365 tools.
Chalkup officials said the company is “joining forces” with Microsoft — which I am taking to mean that Microsoft is acquiring Chalkup’s technology and also possibly the company. I can’t find any information on Microsoft’s or Chalkup’s site that actually says Microsoft is buying Chalkup. I’ve asked Microsoft for more information about the details of the arrangement. I’ll update this post once I hear back.
Update: Microsoft did not buy Chalkup, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed.
“Microsoft hired the CEO Justin Chando after spending several days with him to help us accelerate several areas of Microsoft’s offering. Microsoft is excited to have Justin join the Education Product team…. By joining Microsoft, Justin will bring the best of the Chalkup features, like it’s original rubrics system to make it easier to assess and grade student assignments, into Microsoft Teams,” the spokesperson added.
Chalkup officials said they would be bringing elements of Chalkup into the Microsoft Teams for Education service, citing as an example Chalkup’s criteria-based grading rubrics.
From Chalkup’s web site, it seems like Chalkup had a substantial partnership in place with Google around Google Drive. I’m also asking Microsoft if its deal with Chalkup will involve distontinuing this Google partnership.
Chalkup will shut down on June 30, 2018. Existing customers will be able to continue to run their Chalkup courses until the school year ends and will have the ability to export their course information to Microsoft Teams. Chalkup is no longer accepting new sign ups, effective immediately.
Microsoft began rolling out its Teams for Education collaboration service in March 2017. Microsoft Teams is a free add-on to Office 365 Education for users with an Education, Education Plus, Education E3 and/or an Education E5 suite plan. Microsoft doesn’t make Teams available as a standalone offering.