As the competition between Microsoft and Slack heats up, Slack CEO, in an interview to publication house, The Verge said that inside Slack, the company feels that “Microsoft is perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing us, and Teams is the vehicle to do that.”
Stewart Butterfield said that Slack has its own voice and video calling features, but it’s not the primary focus of the app, and often, businesses integrate Zoom or Cisco’s WebEx instead. On the other hand, Microsoft has been moving businesses from Skype for Business to Teams, which traditionally focused on voice and video calling.
Butterfield accused that Microsoft is trying to force the Teams comparison with Slack because it 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 which is not the case with Slack.
Stewart Butterfield highlighted a Microsoft press release from July last year that specifically mentions Slack’s daily active users compared directly to Teams. He said,
“No software company has ever done that. “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 is targeting Slack particularly says Slack CEO
Citing previous instances, Slack CEO reminded an interview where Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, claimed that Slack won’t have the “breadth and depth” to reinvent work.
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Butterfield says if you Google for “Slack Spataro,” you’ll find a “bunch of shit-talking about how Slack isn’t very good,” but the same can’t be found for Spataro and Okta, Google, or Amazon.
Microsoft is worried about its own Office Empire
Butterfield said that Microsoft is targeting Slack because its own Office empire is threatened if Slack does well, whereas if Zoom does well, it only threatens video and voice calling.
“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.”