Image: mkhmarketing Image: mkhmarketing

Facebook has launched a new social media network for business – could it mean the end of email?

Clutter! Spam! Too many emails, messages that warn you that your inbox will soon be full, just hours after you deleted a shed load of emails, and then there is the problem of finding the important emails. It’s not fun.

Has Facebook come up with the solution?

It has revealed a new product, Workplace, which it has already tested across 1,000 organisations, including its own. And here is a novel idea, it will not be a free product.

Workplace will be charged out at $3 per active user per month, with the price falling for companies with more than 1,000 employees.

Workplace will look and function a lot like Facebook, but just restricted to within a company – or possibly aligned to partners in a project.

Julien Codorniou, director of Workplace said: "Our ambition is to connect everyone in the company, not just knowledge workers, people who have never had a desk.”

He cited the example of Starbucks, saying that at the company in the US "when the chief executive wanted to talk to baristas, he had to have an email printed, and the piece of paper put up in the toilets. Now, when they want to connect with the rest of the company, they can have a Facebook Live question and answer session.”

But this won’t be an easy market to crack. Facebook is competing with Microsoft’s Yammer, Salesforce’s Chatter and SAP’s own collaboration tool, and many other offerings from start-ups.

Also, Facebook is seen by many managers as a distraction – and Facebook has got to somehow get over that psychological hurdle.

The time may be ripe for Facebook to buy up a rival, a start-up in this space, perhaps. If that doesn’t happen soon, it will be a big surprise.

Mind you, its rivals don’t seem to feel so positive – not that this is surprising. Take, for example, Jive.

Jive Software’s CEO Elisa Steele said: "Facebook is a conversation app. Jive is an enterprise collaboration hub that solves the complex fragmentation problems that companies face today. It is not yet another separate communications stream, but a solution that integrates disparate internal systems to unify and align a company. This powerful hub approach creates an intelligent work graph that allows people, content and information to be uniquely visible and searchable across groups, departments and organisations.”

Maybe Facebook needs to get onto the dance floor, do a bit of jiving, and smooch its way to the altar with this company.