CEO Butterfield says Microsoft has an unhealthy preoccupation with Slack, says Slack threatens Microsoft’s $40 billion-a-year collaboration productivity business

by Surur
May 26, 2020
Teams vs Slack Adoption

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Slack may be regretting welcoming Microsoft to the enterprise collaboration business all the way back in 2016.

Their full-page ad then read:

Dear Microsoft,

Wow. Big news! Congratulations on today’s announcements. We’re genuinely excited to have some competition.

… and went on for several long paragraphs afterwards, noting it was not features, but love, which was important, and that Slack was here to stay.

It seems since then Slack has been feeling some heat, with CEO Stewart Butterfield telling the Verge that “Microsoft is perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing us, and Teams is the vehicle to do that.”

Butterfield called Microsoft Teams a competitor mainly to Zoom, not Slack, saying “Microsoft benefits from the narrative that Teams is very competitive with Slack. Even though the reality is it’s principally a voice and video calling service.”

He complained about Microsoft explicitly comparing their daily active users to those of Slack, something Slack has repeatedly claim was not a meaningful number.

Butterfield has even accused Microsoft of being deliberately deceptive and has threatened an anti-trust complaint. The company’s share price dropped 8.4% on Nov. 19, after Microsoft said Teams had more than 20 million daily active users, much more than the 12 million users Slack reported in October.

“No software company has ever done that,” explains Butterfield. “Like, maybe at the height, Oracle would do something like that … But literally, no one else would ever do that. Microsoft has never done that before.”

Microsoft recently said they passed 75 million Daily Active Users, while Slack has not updated their DAU number since last year October.

Butterfield claims Microsoft is uniquely targeted at Slack, saying Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, has engaged in a  “bunch of shit-talking about how Slack isn’t very good,” but has not attacked other companies.

While claiming that Microsoft is inappropriately targeting Slack, Butterfield also claimed that a “incredibly successful Slack” would threaten Microsoft’s cornerstone productivity empire.

“In a different universe where Slack is incredibly successful over the next two years and 98 percent of knowledge workers use Slack, it does matter to Microsoft because the relative importance of email is hugely diminished,” explains Butterfield. “If email becomes less important, then that whole $35, $40 billion-a-year collaboration productivity business unit is threatened.”

If Butterfield is right, it would seem quite appropriate for Microsoft to defend their market, would it not?  What do our readers think? Let us know below.

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