Microsoft and Slack have been locked inside a metaphorical cage match over the future supremacy of productivity communications and today, IBM placed a large bet on Slack.
According to a Busines Insider report, IBM is going all-in with Slack to help support communications of its 350,000 employees in the near future.
IBM choosing a Microsoft competitor, while a tantalizing headline grabber, isn’t a new event. A few years ago, IBM and Apple made headlines as the former opted to shift 25% of its 537,000 active laptops from PCs to Macs.
On the face of it, the IBM contract is a huge get for Slack, especially as the company scales to continue competing with the likes of Microsoft Teams, but some of the details of the agreement have arguably subdued the news.
Powering modern communications one of the largest businesses worldwide is not only a validation of Slack’s ability to support and scale its solution but should be a relatively lucrative revenue stream that can counter Microsoft’s recent surge in the sector.
However, the reality is that Slack had already been supporting IBM employees as early as 2014 and has scaled to support 165,000 as 2019.
Furthermore, the company has yet to clarify which portion of the current 165,000 or future total 350,000 employees will be using a free or paid tier of the service.
While understandably proud of the full commitment from IBM Slack also seemingly attempted to underplay the news by not updating its fourth-quarter forecast to reflect its new agreement, a move that saw its shares soar 15% but ultimately fall 6% in after-hours trading.