It’s been a busy time for Slack, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from challenging the popular unicorn on its own turf. Here’s the latest.
Tracking the Slack and Microsoft cold war is exciting. After Slack took the technology world by storm with its internal chat tool, and Microsoft eventually didn’t buy the upstart, the smaller company flourished.
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And as Slack has grown, it has done two things that have given it staying power: raised oceans of capital it likely doesn’t need and grown its revenue quickly. Even more, the former startup has also been buying smaller firms along the way, in addition to growing its platform and running its own fund.
But Microsoft isn’t content to let Slack exfiltrate corporate productivity spend from its Office empire. So the mega-corp built and launched Microsoft Teams to beat back the threat (more on the larger picture here). The competition between the two firms has been heating up since Microsoft made Teams “on-by-default” in its popular Office 365 productivity suite.
Those were fighting moves.
Since then, Microsoft has been working to improve Teams with feature releases like a free tier, and, most recently, blurred-background video calls for improved privacy. And Redmond announced a new user milestone this week as well. Here’s VentureBeat:
At Microsoft’s Ignite enterprise technology conference this week in Orlando, Florida, the company announced that Microsoft Teams is now used by 329,000 organizations. That’s up from 200,000 organizations in March, and more than double the 125,000 organizations it had in September 2017.
Quick growth puts more points on the board for Microsoft. Of course, we can’t tell from this distance if Microsoft is actually slowing Slack’s market penetration, especially on the enterprise side. But the two firms are certainly carving up the market. Throw in Alibaba’s popular DingTalk competitor and we may have the triumvirate of corporate chat.
Slack also recently raised another $427 million, making it richer than ever, and worth more than $7 billion. That gives Slack space to acquire, experiment, and keep growing. And we can’t discount the fact that Slack is still somewhat cool.
But Slack is now a giant, so whatever cool it had will surely fade. And then we’ll have yet another brace of large corps fighting for enterprise IT dollars. And then it won’t be fun anymore.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias