Once arch-rivals, Slack and Microsoft are partnering up in response to increased demand for their respective apps.
Per the pact, Slack users can now launch a Microsoft Teams video conference directly from the collaboration app. Along with Microsoft’s service, Slack is adding integrations with Zoom Phone, Cisco Jabber, and other video-conferencing services.
Yet, Slack working with Microsoft is most notable considering the bad blood between the two companies.
When Microsoft launched Teams in 2016, Slack took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, which brazenly questioned the tech company's ability to compete against a more nimble upstart.
“You’re not going to create something people really love by making a big list of Slack’s features and simply checking those boxes,” the ad copy read.
Four years and one global pandemic later, it now looks like there is enough room in the market for more than one maker of business collaboration software.
Along with other virtual communication platforms, the COVID-19 crisis is driving a spike in customer acquisition for Slack.
While its fiscal first quarter isn’t over, Slack has already added about 9,000 paying customers during the period, its cofounder-CEO Stewart Butterfield recently boasted.
To put that figure in perspective, the now publicly traded Slack has about 110,000 paying customers -- which together represent more than 12 million users. It has recently been adding closer to 5,000 paying customers on a quarterly basis.
For Slack, the priority is ensuring its platform integrates with the broader ecosystems, according to Brian Elliott, the company’s vice president-GM. “Whatever tools you use, wherever you are, and on whatever device, we want them to work seamlessly with Slack,” Elliott stated.
For its part, Microsoft Teams said it had more than 20 million daily active users, late last year. That was up by more than 50% since the summer of 2019, when it was revealed the communication app had amassed approximately 13 million daily users.Meanwhile, Facebook said its Workplace service had roughly 2 million playing customers, last year.