The big news this week is that Slack has been acquired by Salesforce, as has been rumored recently. It’s a big deal: $27.7 billion.
Since I first saw it years ago, I’ve really loved Slack. We were using HipChat at the time and it was totally fine. Campfire was also around and doing very well in the space too. But Slack was such a breath of fresh air in the group chat market. It was well designed, fussy about typography, and has always been fast and feature-rich. I still wish that they would make a truly native Mac app so we weren’t stuck with the web UI, but it’s not the end of the world.
I’ve seen quite the consternation around the web about how Salesforce is bad and this is bad news for Slack. I think quite the opposite. Slack is currently running up against Microsoft Teams, a product that Microsoft is giving away for basically free with its Office 365 services. It’s the same reason so many companies have turned to SharePoint and other garbage Microsoft products over the years that have snuffed out great competition: it comes with Office for free. This is a bad thing for the industry and we need companies like Slack around. (Nothing against Microsoft Teams, by the way. It seems like it has its fans.) Salesforce buying Slack gives it the long-term support it will need. It’s not just a small player anymore, it’s part of a much bigger ecosystem.
Salesforce also acquired Heroku nearly a decade ago and there was much of the same concern then as there is now with Slack. I think Salesforce has done a fine job managing Heroku. Like Slack, I use Heroku every single day and it’s a great service. It could be better, of course. But that has nothing to do with Salesforce’s ownership.
Call me optimistic about Slack’s future. I’m excited to see how this goes.