As it has grown in recent years, Slack has become an essential workplace tool, with many users in media organizations and companies that have shifted to working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 750,000 companies use the service, according to Slack, which became an independent, publicly traded company in mid-2019.
Salesforce, a company that sells marketing and sales software, announced in December that it would buy Slack for $27.7 billion in cash and stock, the latest in a series of major deals showing the demand for tools that allow people to work remotely. Adobe said in November that it planned to acquire the management software company Workfront for $1.5 billion, and Atlassian, which sells tools for developers, said it would buy the enterprise services business Mindville for an undisclosed amount.
The high-profile deals indicated intense competition in the market for workplace software. Other companies with such products, including Airtable, Dropbox and Smartsheet, may be among the potential targets for acquisitions by powerful tech companies. Executives at Slack, which was founded in 2010, had rejected such offers in the past.
Slack has also faced increasing competition, especially from Microsoft, which offers a collaboration product called Teams. In July, Slack filed a complaint with the European Commission that claimed that Microsoft had unfairly bundled Teams with its Microsoft Office work products, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Though outages were once fairly common for internet companies, especially start-ups that grew quickly, they have become more rare as several tech giants, like Google and Facebook, have built networks of interconnected data centers.
But major firms have experienced widespread problems in recent months, highlighting how reliant many companies, schools and governments have become on those networks.