Cloud-based software company Salesforce has placed a $27.7bn (£20.6bn) bet on remote working through the acquisition of workplace messaging app Slack. Describing the takeover as a ‘match made in heaven’ Salesforce is confident that Slack’s market value, which has doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, will reap dividends in enabling it to compete directly with Microsoft Teams, by ushering in a new unified platform for businesses to connect with employees.
What are the details?
Salesforce will hand over $27.7bn (£20.6bn) to acquire Slack and level the playing field with arch-rival Microsoft, which commands the business communication market with its Teams software.
The multi-billion-dollar deal is by far the biggest single move by Salesforce in its 21-year history and a sign of the importance the San Francisco cloud computing pioneer attaches to the future of workplace messaging.
Slack has already locked horns with Microsoft in Europe, alleging that its rival illegally bundled Teams into its Office 365 software in such a way that Slack users cannot uninstall it.
Salesforce has been facing mounting pressure from Microsoft which has eroded the market share of its customer relationship products for businesses.
Google has also dipped its toe in the market with a refreshed Workspace office suite.
Why does it matter
The boardroom machinations matter to marketers, because a chat service reaching 12 million users per day combined with established business software, sales and marketing operations of Salesforce has the potential to disrupt the market.
By removing barriers Slack users will be able to seamlessly access Salesforce software, negating the need to turn to Microsoft which currently monopolises such products.
This coincides with a pronounced global shift toward digital services which Salesforce risked losing out on. Alex Zukin, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, put it succinctly: “Ultimately, it’s about Microsoft — they have it all.”
Outlining their rationale for opening the purse strings Salesforce president and chief operating officer Bret Taylor, said: “We see the world as fundamentally having shifted this year. We think the new way of working is permanent.”