Amazon is rumored to be mulling a purchase of Slack, the fast-growing corporate chat platform. A deal could give Slack a valuation of $9 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg.
It’s no surprise that tech giants have taken interest in Slack, with its elegant, user-friendly interface that keeps employees ever-connected to work via their smartphones. The startup has enjoyed extraordinary growth since its 2013 debut. It now has about 5 million daily users, including more than 1 million paying users. As of last year, Slack claimed 77 Fortune 100 companies among its clients. It’s quite popular in American newsrooms—including at The Washington Post, which the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns. (The Atlantic has used the platform since 2014.) Last year, Microsoft was considering scooping up Slack for itself. Instead, it launched a competing collaborative group-chat service called Teams in November. Even for Silicon Valley’s most formidable companies, a multibillion-dollar acquisition isn’t taken lightly.
So in the broader sense, the idea that Amazon is flirting with a Slack takeover is just another chapter in the Office Wars of Silicon Valley. Remember, Amazon is not just an online retailer; Amazon Web Services is already a major force in the corporate world. But Amazon’s possible interest also signals some clear ways of thinking about how the company wants to position itself in the future. (Neither Amazon nor Slack returned requests for comment early Thursday morning).