Amazon has reportedly shown interest in acquiring workplace collaboration tool Slack, according to Business Insider.
The company is one of several tech giants that may be seeking to buy the popular enterprise communication service, whose corporate clients include Airbnb, Harvard University, and Samsung. The news comes amid a shift in the way employees communicate with each other — away from legacy platforms like email, and toward messaging app-like services.
There are several reasons why a deal between Amazon and Slack makes sense:
- Amazon could increase its competitive edge. Amazon is continually expanding its portfolio of offerings, however, the company has yet to offer an enterprise communications platform. Moreover, integrating Slack into Amazon’s cloud services business, AWS, would make it much more competitive against rival cloud providers Google and Microsoft, both of which have their own productivity, collaboration, and communications platforms.
- Slack could shore up against the threat of Facebook and Microsoft. The popularity of the service inspired larger tech companies to begin offering their own services, which could quickly overrun Slack’s footprint. Workplace by Facebook, for instance, was launched in October 2016 and is already being used by global enterprises such as Royal Bank of Scotland. Amazon’s substantial data center infrastructure and its AWS sales team would be invaluable resources for the Slack team as it looks to boost its presence.
- Both companies could benefit from each other’s AI offerings. Slack’s B2B chatbots are one of the biggest pulls of the collaboration tool, allowing users to automate a myriad of menial workplace tasks. Amazon recently opened its AI platform Lex up to all developers as it looks to take a bigger role in the AI-conversational commerce market. Infusing Slack’s bots with Lex would not only vastly improve Slack bots’ capabilities, but it could also increase the exposure of Amazon’s AI platform for consumers and developers alike.
Amazon is the last of the big five US tech companies to have a messaging platform, and buying an established service, rather than building out its own, could leapfrog its rivals. Slack was one of the first workplace collaboration tools to market, and quickly gained popularity. The platform has roughly 5 million daily active users, with 1.5 million of those paying for its premium services, according to Business Insider.
Of course, the two companies could find more value by not joining forces. For Amazon, buying Slack could result in an empty acquisition, if the tool is unable to compete against Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. And as workplace communication continues to evolve, grow, and become more valuable, Slack may wait for a bigger deal to come along.
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