Just weeks after Slack’s IPO, the workplace mainstay is already facing competition from Microsoft.
However, the company’s co-founder and CEO doesn’t seem concerned by the recent news that Microsoft’s Teams app has surpassed Slack in user numbers. This week, Stewart Butterfield appeared at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, where he addressed the Microsoft gain, calling it a non-threat.
Butterfield relayed that Slack’s focus is on customer service and quality control as it adds users. Teams benefits from a large built-in user base thanks to being bundled into the Office suite. But while Microsoft currently claims that Teams has 13 million active daily users versus Slack’s 10 million, Butterfield says Microsoft’s wide range of product offerings doesn’t allow it an undivided focus on Teams.
“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,” said Butterfield. “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.”
Butterfield likened the Teams effort to Microsoft’s other lackluster efforts at competing with popular products, such as its attempt to take away market share from Google’s search with the launch of Bing. “Tens of billions of dollars into that and I don’t know what their market share is now—nine percent or something like that,” Butterfield said of the infamous Bing blunder during the interview.
While Microsoft enjoys selling popular workplace software, Slack’s growing popularity over the past 10 years is due to its “disruptive” Silicon Valley nature, according to the CEO.
Slack’s second quarter ends July 31, which is when the now-public company is expected to announce a revenue between $139 million and $141 million, marking a 50 percent jump from 2018.