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Salesforce catches Microsoft Slack-ing, promising more competition
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

According to Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, “the most strategic combination in the history of software” took place this week as Salesforce officially acquired Slack in an all-stock deal valued at $27.7 billion.

The acquisition sets up a titanic battle between Salesforce and Microsoft, as Slack is considered the primary competitor to Microsoft’s Teams collaboration platform, which has exploded in popularity during the pandemic—thanks in large part due to it’s bundling within Microsoft’s nearly-ubiquitous Office365 enterprise suite.

With this new deal, Slack will similarly combine with Salesforce’s Customer 360 enterprise suite, which already competes head-to-head with Microsoft in the CRM (Dynamics vs. Sales Cloud) and analytics (Tableau vs. PowerBI) arena.

While this marks the end of Slack as an independent software giant in a market that’s increasingly shrinking due to mergers and acquisitions, it’s unlikely that Salesforce execs will tamper too much with the winning formula that’s made Slack such a standalone success in the age of Big Tech.

Rather, Slack now has a strategic partner in Salesforce that can help them eat away (or even regain) some of the collaboration software market that Teams very loudly devoured during the pandemic.

“This is the next generation of the Customer 360. This is our ultimate vision of having this incredible user interface on top of all of these services with all these channels and all the collaboration running on all these devices and integration, interactions,” Salesforce CEO Jack Benioff said in a statement on the acquisition. “We see in Slack a once-in-a-generation company platform. It’s the central nervous system of so many companies on this call and our company and so many of our great customers, connecting everyone and everything, and now we could go even bigger, better, more exciting.”

Despite Teams’ headline-making growth numbers over the summer, Slack has enjoyed a lockdown-driven boost in users lately as well, with 64,000 paid customers using Slack Connect in the third quarter of 2020, which is up from 52,000 in the second quarter. In total, there are more than 520,000 connected endpoints on Slack Connect as of November 2020.

This comes on the heels of a hot week for Salesforce, whose Dreamforce conference kicked off with a slew of new workforce tools, from Service Cloud Workforce Engagement, which is designed to help organize contact centers, to a bevy of new forecasting and analytics features.

With Salesforce rounding out their Customer 360 suite with Slack, the platform is almost immediately a bonafide competitor to Microsoft Office365. But just because formerly independent cloud and SaaS offerings are increasingly being bundled into larger platforms, enterprises are still going to be leveraging multiple cloud solutions that aren’t included within a monolithic cloud suite for the foreseeable future.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: network management, network performance monitoring, enterprise network, enterprise IT, enterprise collaboration, collaboration software, UCaaS, SaaS, enterprise software, collaboration tools, voice, video & collaboration, voice & video, voice, cloud computing, cloud, merger, Customer 360, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Teams, Microsoft, Salesforce, Slack

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