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Slack pokes at Microsoft's Slack-killer — before it even launches

Slack pokes at Microsoft's Slack-killer — before it even launches

"Slack is here to stay."

Just a few hours before Microsoft is set to launch its new chat and collaboration suite, the chat and collaboration makers at Slack rolled out the red carpet — with a heavy dose of snark.

"Wow. Big news! Congratulations on today’s announcements. We’re genuinely excited to have some competition," the post begins, before offering some "friendly advice" on the challenges ahead.

As background, Slack is now touted as the fastest growing enterprise app, ever, which has spurred increasing competition from competitors like Salesforce, Dropbox, and, of course, Microsoft.

In fact, it was reported that Microsoft internally floated the idea of buying Slack for $8 billion — an idea that was apparently vetoed by Satya himself.

It's not as if Microsoft has been asleep at the wheel in the corporate messaging space — just four years ago it spent over a billion acquiring Yammer, which has slowly been integrated across a variety of applications, and Skype integration has been a key focus over the past year across many of Microsoft's product lines.

But with Slack setting its aims squarely on owning the enterprise (and smaller) identity market, the threat Microsoft faces goes beyond just about how users communicate and strikes at the core of Microsoft's value proposition, particularly among emerging businesses that are rethinking the traditional IT stack in an increasingly cloud-first world.

That's coded into Slack's "advice" for Microsoft: "An open platform is essential," the company states, noting its integration with hundreds of third-party applications ranging from customer support and analytics to CRM and developer tools.

Of course, "open" is a relative term, since all of those applications now become increasingly reliant on Slack integration to reach and service their customers.

Slack also states that its craftsmanship, not features, that make team collaboration tools work.

"Building a product that allows for significant improvements in how people communicate requires a degree of thoughtfulness and craftsmanship that is not common in the development of enterprise software," the company wrote. "How far you go in helping companies truly transform to take advantage of this shift in working is even more important than the individual software features you are duplicating."

It's a none-too-subtle jab at the reputation Microsoft developed with its embrace, extend, extinguish strategy, although under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has become one of the predominant disciples of the open ethos, whether that's embracing open source or playing nicer with partners of all stripes.

It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft's big reveal plays out today, but one thing is for sure: The already cozy collaboration space is about to get a lot more crowded.


Update: Apparently Slack really wanted to get the message out: They also took out a full-page ad in the New York Times with their advice.


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