Cloud computing giant Salesforce is acquiring workplace chat app Slack, the two companies announced on Tuesday. The deal, rumblings of which began surfacing last week, marks one of the most consequential acquisitions in the business software industries in recent years and Salesforce’s biggest purchase ever.
Slack has transformed from a fast-rising startup formed as a gaming company in 2009 into a major competitor of Microsoft with more than 12 million daily active users and a market value of close to $25 billion. The company, led by Flickr co-creator Stewart Butterfield, started primarily as an email alternative that pitched itself to startups, media companies, and other tech-savvy businesses to better manage interoffice communication.
But Slack has grown into a full productivity suite with video meeting features, file hosting, IT administration, and all manner of other features typically offered by large enterprise corporations. Earlier this year, the company expanded its partnership with IBM to include the company’s entire 350,000-plus workforce.
Salesforce, also a major competitor to Microsoft but in the cloud sector, is worth nearly $220 billion and has grown to one of the largest software companies on the planet through its customer relationship management software that helps businesses manage sales online.
Both Salesforce and Slack have only become more vital during the coronavirus pandemic as companies worldwide have moved to remote work and moved substantial portions of their businesses online. Joining together ensures both platforms can better compete against Microsoft, Oracle, and other competitors.