The rhetoric is euphoric, as usual. Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack is a “huge opportunity,” said Stewart Butterfield, founder and head of the communications specialist who will continue to run the business. Even more: It is about the strategically cleverest merger “in the history of software”.
In fact, there are arguments for the deal that go beyond the proud purchase price. However, that cannot hide the fact that the sale is not entirely voluntary. In the past, entrepreneur Butterfield has emphasized his independence and turned down several offers. The competition through Microsoftthat made life difficult for Slack is now making him rethink. That could get the whole market moving.
Created as a by-product of the development of a computer game, Slack has evolved into a versatile communication platform for the workplace. The product is considered to be fully developed, and it is especially popular with programmers because of the technical possibilities it offers – it can be used to automate many work processes.
Nevertheless, Slack has clearly lost ground to Microsoft in recent months: The IT giant markets its program teams as a package with its office software Office, sometimes as a free bonus, which is also cleverly integrated with other in-house products. For many customers this is enough, they don’t even try other solutions.
Slack does not stand alone against this market power – which can be seen from the fact that the company cannot show any extraordinary growth despite the home office boom in the corona crisis. Salesforce with its large sales force and deep anchoring in the economy will surely help sell the product.
Analysts believe chain reactions are possible
The deal shows once again the market power of the big technology groups. When they get into a business, things can look bleak for smaller competitors, despite mature products. An offer that Slack boss Butterfield would probably have rejected earlier may then become an option.