Slack's CEO doesn't see Microsoft Teams as a threat

What you need to know

  • Slack's CEO said that he doesn't view Microsoft Teams as a threat.
  • The CEO compared Microsoft Teams vs. Slack to Bing vs. Google.
  • Microsoft Teams recently surpassed Slack in terms of the number of daily active users.

Slack's CEO, Stewart Butterfield, said that he doesn't view Microsoft Teams as a threat "if it's based on the bigger distribution." Butterfield spoke at length in an interview at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference (via CNBC). In the interview, he spoke at length on Slack, its progress, and its priorities as a company. At the 17:05 mark, the interviewer turned the interview towards Slack's biggest competitor, Microsoft Teams.

Butterfield goes through some history regarding large companies trying to compete with smaller companies that had a specific focus. He points out that Microsoft tried to compete with Google using Bing and invested tens of billions of dollars but is at a 9 percent market share (8.6 according to NetMarketShare). He also draws a parrallel to Google trying to push Google+ to compete with Facebook. He states that the lesson they've learned is that "A smaller company, if it has real traction with customers in some cases has a bit of an advantage against a larger company with multiple lines of business."

He later added that "If it's based on the bigger distribution, I don't think that's really a threat."

While Stewart points out two examples with Google+ and Bing, they aren't direct parallels to Microsoft Teams. Bing never approached the same market share that Google had, and Google+ always lagged behind Facebook in terms of engagement. Microsoft Teams has already surpassed Slack in terms of daily active users. Microsoft Teams launched in March 2017.

Stewart points out in the interview that the larger you get as a company, the harder it is to focus on the quality of a service and user experience, adding "So if the competition was based on the quality of user experience, and that's where all the effort is, that would probably be more daunting for us."

He also states in the interview that Microsoft is an incredible company and a good partner to work with. Slack recently announced integrations with Office 365 so it seems the companies have an understanding and a mutual interest.

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Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

10 Comments
  • Wow an actual article that isn't an advert for Amazon
  • If Butterfield is the CEO and can't figure out that Teams is a real threat to Slack, their board should fire him immediately.
  • I think he came off pretty poorly in the interview honestly. Microsoft Teams already has more users than Slack on a daily basis. Why wouldn't you view that as a threat?
  • PR is often at odds with reality (and what they truly believe).
  • Teams is included in all O365 packages, for Slack you have to pay extra...
  • Gates (at first) didn't take the Internet seriously as something Windows needed to support. Ballmer didn't take the iPhone seriously as meaningful competition for Microsoft's mobile platform. Look where that kind of thinking got them.
  • He's a fool if he doesn't perceive Teams as a potential threat. Microsoft may struggle mightily with consumers, but the same cannot be said for enterprise. Microsoft can boast additional integrations with existing Microsoft services, powerful AI and cloud features, and has the resources to pour into the project. Just because Teams isn't the same level of polish now doesn't mean it won't be later.
  • Haters gonna hate...
  • I miss Teams, my new company use Slack, nothing against Slack but in big companies and big projects Teams is much better
  • Maybe Slack removes 10k viewable message limit (in free version) after this 🤔