Slack’s CEO has fired shots at Microsoft a week after it was revealed Teams has overtaken Slack in users. Speaking at a business tech conference (via CNBC), Stewart Butterfield indicated that his company isn’t worried about the numbers.
He noted that so long as Teams’ userbase comes via bigger distribution, he doesn’t see it as a threat. The software is bundled with Microsoft 365, which is dominant in the enterprise space, so it’s natural for a lot of companies to be trying it.
He went on to compare the efforts to Microsoft attempting to compete with Google via Bing. “Tens of billions of dollars into that [search engine] and I don’t know what their market share is now — 9% or something like that,” he noted.
Reportedly, Butterfield also compared Teams’ distribution push to Google+. The search giant forced users to sign up for the service to access other features, inflating its user numbers. The social network’s numbers soon dwindled, and its consumer and enterprise versions were shut down in April 2019.
“I think that it’s harder and harder, not because there’s anything wrong with Microsoft, because it’s hard for us at this point, given the size that we’re at — it’s hard to maintain a real focus on quality, on user experience, and the bigger you get, the harder it is,” he continued. “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.”
At this point, Slack’s focus is less on competing via integrations, and more on ensuring users love its app. Meanwhile, Microsoft has a large range of business software to support to ensure proper functionality with its other suite. Despite Teams’ relatively new free version, it’s likely Slack will remain popular with small businesses as a result.