Do Slack hold the balance of power in the collaboration space?
The collaboration software startup Slack Technologies has attracted the attention of major technology companies including Amazon.com, according to reports from Bloomberg.
The possible $9 billion deal is pure speculation at the moment, with neither Amazon or Slack having made any formal comment regarding a possible takeover.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg, nothing has yet been agreed and that negotiations could be dropped regarding the takeover at any time.
Slack has been experiencing strong growth following a 2016 funding round that raked in $200 million, with the company now standing at a valuation close to $4 billion. This growth has undoubtedly drawn considerable interest from big players in the market.
The workplace collaboration space is a crowded one, with Slack facing significant competition from the likes of Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. These big players could perhaps be driving factors behind the possible interest from Amazon if speculations prove to be legitimate. Looking at the numbers, you can understand why Amazon may be chasing Slack.
Microsoft Teams, for example, has seen impressive take-up following the release of the preview last November. 50,000 organisations have since jumped on the Teams bandwagon, with big names like Deloitte and Expedia rolling out the collaboration software.
Google, meanwhile, made an enterprise play with Hangouts, splitting the service into the new Chat and Meet messaging services. Chat, closely resembling Slack, provides a unique dial-in number for conference calls and allows anyone to join without having to download an app or plugin by generating a shareable web address for the chat.
Slack, however, has not been short of product roll-outs and innovations either. Earlier this year Slack announced Enterprise Grid, the big brother version of its normal cloud-based team collaboration tool. While Microsoft Teams boasted 50,000 companies using Teams, Slack named IBM, PayPal and Capital One as big business customers.
Amazon has already entered the collaboration battleground, with interest in Slack indicative of the ecommerce giant wanting a big share of the collaboration market. Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services released Amazon Chime, a video conferencing service that took the fight to the likes of Microsoft and Cisco. The cloud based service allows businesses to make voice/video calls either in groups or one-on-one from desktops and mobile devices.