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Why Slack may live to regret its smarmy letter to Microsoft




November 4, 2016

By Casey Newton


Slack has always been easy to like. The fast-growing team communication startup had a classic underdog story, with its founders falling ass-backwards into enterprise software following a failed effort to build a video game. It’s led by Stewart Butterfield, one of the kindest and most self-aware founders in Silicon Valley, who had previously given the world Flickr and then gone through the wringer after its acquisition by Yahoo. And it makes a genuinely useful product — the company may not have killed email yet, but it does seem to be reducing the volume.

Today 4 million people use Slack every day, the company is on pace to generate $100 million in revenue this year, and investors have valued it at $3.8 billion. But as of this week, it also has a major competitor: Microsoft, which unveiled its Teams product Wednesday at an event in New York City. It’s like Slack, but with a few key twists: threaded conversations, deep integrations with Office, and (if you’re already an Office 365 subscriber) available at no extra charge.


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