The continuing saga between Slack, purveyor of a popular workplace communication tool, and Microsoft, which offers a rival service, took a fresh turn this morning. Microsoft, as part of a set of announcements relating to its communication tools, said today that Teams, its Slack rival, now has 20 million daily active users (DAUs).
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The figure is up sharply from its last announced number, 13 million DAUs this July. Seeing Teams grow to 20 million daily actives so quickly is notable, as 54 percent daily active user growth in less than half a year is pretty darn rapid. Slack, in contrast, grew its DAU count by 37 percent in a year, according to its last data release.
Slack, a recently public company that debuted via a direct listing, announced 12 million DAUs in October. While it would be simple to declare Microsoft the runaway winner in terms of active seats of its internal chat product, Slack unsurprisingly disagrees.
When announcing its 12 million DAU figure, Slack had a few things to say that underscore its views regarding what counts as an active user. Here’s a condensed set of quotations:
DAUs get cited a lot, but what, really, is their significance? In our book, the “U” is what matters: Use! Engagement is what makes Slack work — you can’t transform a workplace if people aren’t actually using the product. […] It’s Not a Successful Collaboration Tool if People Don’t Use It […] Deep and sustained levels of engagement across companies are what keep people adopting Slack and using it above other, less connected ways of working.
Slack went on to publicly define a daily active user, saying that it counted people who have “either created or consumed content in Slack within a given 24-hour period on either a free or paid subscription plan.” That seems pretty fair.
Regardless, the Slack narrative that its DAUs are more A than Microsoft’s DAUs was a little bit stronger when their aggregate figures were closer; now that the gap has grown larger, and it appears that Teams is accreting users even more quickly than before, we really have a scrap on our hands.
What About Startups?
We focus on private companies here at Crunchbase News, but we do allow ourselves a little wiggle room when it comes to companies we covered while private go public; how can we not cover recent graduates?
But this particular story is a bit more than that. We’ve covered Slack vs. Teams since the very first days of this publication’s life, making it something we cannot quite let go of. And, finally, Slack’s falling share price after its direct listing has become a critical piece of information that may inform how private companies choose to go public in the future. Summing, Slack’s a company we’ll keep writing about for a while, and not just for the sake of nostalgia. Its performance as a public company could set the tone for future direct listings, so we must pay attention.
More when Slack inevitably responds.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.