Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan's Michael Jude says acquiring Slack would be a way for Amazon to enter the workplace environment.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 24, 2017

4 Min Read
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Amazon would have a lot to gain from acquiring corporate chat startup Slack, according to analysts and an executive with West Unified Communications Services.

A recent Bloomberg report said Slack has received inquiries about a potential takeover from technology companies including Amazon. Slack could be valued at at least $9 billion in a sale, it said.


451 Research’s Raul Castanon-Martinez

Raul Castanon-Martinez, 451 Research’s senior analyst of enterprise mobility, tells Channel Partners that Slack has evolved beyond messaging and its competitive landscape has shifted.

“They are no longer competing with other messaging apps; they are now playing in the major leagues competing with large, well-established vendors of business communications and productivity and team collaboration applications such as Cisco, Microsoft and Google, and UCaaS providers like RingCentral,” he said. “Pairing with Amazon will place Slack in a much better position to compete against these players.”

Slack also recently launched its enterprise offering, Castanon-Martinez noted.

They have been very successful so far – perhaps the most successful example yet – with organic growth, penetrating the enterprise via end user adoption instead of the usual go-to-market route that other enterprise software vendors take,” he said. “Launching their enterprise offering entails a different go-to-market approach and Slack has yet to prove they can be successful with this. Partnering with Amazon can help Slack get to the next stage.”

Shelby Cooper, West UC’s vice president of wholesale sales and support, said Amazon is a brand new player in the channel and has yet to make a noticeable impact.


West UC’s Shelby Cooper

“However, the portfolio they are building right now is very impressive, and acquiring Slack could be significant for Amazon both in the retail and channel markets,” he said. “They are one to keep your eyes on, and it’ll be interesting to see how they manage a rollout of their products in the channel.”

This year, Amazon has launched Amazon Chime and Amazon Connect (its contact center platform), which are both under Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cooper said. AWS already has major enterprise market share it can offer these products to, and acquiring Slack would make it even harder for giants like Microsoft to compete with Amazon, he said.

“All the major tech providers are trying to own the user and the desktop experience,” he said. “If you looked at the economy, it was doing well because of steady consumer spending, but there’s an enterprise opportunity. To compete with established giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Amazon will need to lean on Slack’s existing team to tighten up its go-to-market strategy and demonstrate how integrating Slack with AWS would benefit enterprise customers.”

Michael Jude, Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan’s consumer communications services research manager, said acquiring Slack would …

…be a way for Amazon to enter the workplace environment.


Frost & Sullivan’s Michael Jude

As Amazon seeks ubiquity across all consumer spaces, using a popular work chat platform as an entrée into the workplace makes sense,” he said. “For Slack, the deal means a massive infusion of capital and a way to expand its business oriented services into the retail space. In terms of market competition, this will help Amazon achieve some parity in the work space with players like Google and Microsoft. It will force them to up their game quite a lot.”

Amazon has had an end-user computing offering for awhile, but it still can be considered a relative newcomer to business communications and productivity, and team collaboration applications, Castanon-Martinez said. It launched its UCaaS offering only a year ago and it’s “nowhere near the two big players, Google and Microsoft,” Castanon-Martinez said.

“Pairing with Slack could help Amazon solidify their position in the market as a provider of business communications and productivity and team collaboration applications for the enterprise,” he said. “It could be somewhat similar to what other vendors have done. RingCentral acquired Glip and it is now a central component for their UCaaS offering. Similarly ThinkingPhones acquired Fuze (and later rebranded as Fuze). Amazon could gain a significant advantage because in several ways Slack has influenced the road map of major UCaaS and team collaboration providers like Cisco, Microsoft and Google; they all now have a messaging application as a central component.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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