Slack has recently announced its plans for voice and video chat, directly stepping into territory historically dominated by Microsoft Skype and other solutions similar to it. It seems that this is not the only conflict of interest between the global IT giant and one of the most successful Silicon Valley start-ups so far.
According to the TechCrunch IT news portal, Microsoft was considering Slack as a potential acquisition in a deal estimated to be worth $8 billion. These plans never came to fruition, as the idea did not have enough support from within Microsoft. In particular, from Bill Gates and Satya Nadella, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, neither of whom found the idea compelling enough. Gates instead insisted that Skype and its new functions need to be developed more, and that the focus should be on increasing the competitiveness of Skype for Business, the main advocate of Microsoft's interests against the army of corporate communicators, headed by Slack.
|Currently, Slack has 3 million active users, 930,000 of whom have a paid subscription. These numbers make them a real threat to other tools for workplace collaboration and communication. It’s no wonder that Slack has gotten about 8 to 10 acquisition offers in the last year.|
In April 2015, in a campaign for additional investments of $160 million, Slack was estimated at $2.8 billion. According to some sources, Slack has recently acquired additional investments of $150-300 million, while the market valuation of the company was already about $4-5 billion.
Now you can understand why the idea of acquiring Slack for $8 billion wasn't universally accepted by everyone at Microsoft. On the one hand, Microsoft is an experienced buyer in the market of corporate software for collaboration and communication. Need we remind you of their high-profile acquisitions of Yammer, SharePoint, Lync, and, finally, Skype? In other words, the IT giant already has a sufficient set of tools to create its own solution that will be able to outdo Slack. Why then would it acquire another pricey start-up, and then work on integrating it into the existing product mix?
On the other hand, Slack has become a favorite in the corporate communicators market, which can't be said for Microsoft or other similar software solutions. It even has a wall dedicated to love letters for the app - the so-called Wall of Love. Slack's fanbase consists primarily of IT-geeks and Apple fans. Slack has won them over with its ‘pro-apple’ design; speed and cutting-edge tech such as special commands and chat-bots; and integration with a number of third party applications. For instance, you can even order yourself an Uber!
Skype is also rapidly developing new features for both users and business that need to break down communication barriers and help the world communicate. Among the latest updates are group video calls for iOS and Android, the adaptation of Skype for Business to new platforms, and even Skype integration with Slack.