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Morning Report: Just How Well Is Microsoft’s Slack Killer Doing?

Morning Report: Microsoft’s Teams product now sports a material corporate footprint. But how well is it doing as a Slack competitor?

Microsoft recently released a number of performance metrics relating to its Teams product, a Slack-esque service that puts the two companies on an enterprise chat collision course.

Here’s Forbes’ Alex Konrad with a good distillation of Teams’ new features and metrics:

Six months after the general release of its workplace messaging app Teams, Microsoft will now allow customers to share Teams channels with guest users from other companies. Microsoft also reported an update on user traction for the service, saying that 125,000 organizations are now using Teams in 25 languages.

Konrad later notes that Microsoft “didn’t say how many of those users were reflected in the 125,000 organizations,” so we only know so much. But, happily, we have a grip of Slack metrics that we can use as relative measuring sticks.

How Big Is Slack?

Teams, as Crunchbase News wrote before, is a hedge against Slack succeeding as an independent company and becoming a key player in the enterprise productivity space. In the enterprise domain, Microsoft isn’t one to cede even a cent. To wit:

Microsoft’s Teams move may cut in slightly on Slack’s growth pace, which could lower its value in the eyes of investors. The situation should feel familiar. It’s reminiscent of Facebook’s endless moves to undercut Snap’s growth.

With the public release of selective numbers, Redmond is likely trying to signal, in some capacity, that it can drive market share in enterprise chat through its extant corporate customer base and, perhaps, head off Slack in the process. (The better Slack does now, the more money it can raise to build products that chip away at Microsoft’s software profits. Therefore, if Microsoft can slow Slack’s growth, the more the software giant helps preserve its future bottomline.)

Here’s what we know about Slack right now based off prior reporting:

  • $1 billion expected revenue (source).
  • $200 million ARR mark in H1 2017 (source).
  • Steady per-seat revenue (monthly) of around $7.50 or so through 2016 (source).

Naturally, Slack wants to grow its per-seat revenue with enterprise-grade products, and it likely will. But I also suspect that our prior notes on per-seat pricing bear up for now. So using the listed per-seat revenue mark and the $200 million ARR figure, we can estimate that Slack had around 2,222,222 paid seats earlier this year. (As of October of last year, the messaging startup reported 4 million daily users and 1.25 million paying users.)

Still, we lack two critical pieces of information: how many seats, on average, comprise a Slack corporate account, and how many seats an average organization that uses Teams has online. More simply, we are missing enough light to draw a straight line between the scraps of information that we do have as one reports groups of users, and the other just users.

But, if each Teams’ install had between 17 and 18 paid seats, Teams would be about as big as Slack was in H1 in about a half year since its general release.

And that is as close as we’ll probably get to knowing how well Teams is doing contra to Slack’s rocket ship. I will leave it to you to decide if Microsoft is making a credible attempt on Slack’s future. What Slack could do to quiet speculation is release new seat and ARR numbers.

Just saying!

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