There are rumors that online retailer Amazon is interested in purchasing Slack, a cloud-based messaging service, for more than $9 billion.
Why Does Amazon Want Slack?
According to reports, Amazon is only one of several companies that have reached out to Slack Technologies to express an interest in purchasing the company, but the others have yet to be revealed.
Such a deal is estimated to cost more than $9 billion though Slack has recently said that a public offering was "years away" so such a value is only an estimate.
At first glance, Slack and Amazon might seem like an odd pairing, but the online retailer does have some business-oriented tools such as Amazon Drive and Amazon Web Services. It likely isn't a coincidence that Amazon's offer comes a few months after Slack unveiled its enterprise option, which helps major companies such as PayPal and IBM coordinate their tens of thousands of employees.
Amazon's potential purchase of Slack may be an attempt to expand beyond the retail business it is known for, into providing services for business enterprises. Beyond that, it is unclear what changes, if any, Amazon would make to Slack. For the most part, the company has been fairly good about respecting the autonomy of its acquisitions. For example, despite some fears to the contrary, Amazon's 2014 purchase of digital comics giant ComiXology did not result in any significant changes to the company's business model.
History Of Slack And Its Secret Meaning
While it is known for its use in businesses enterprises, Slack's origins lie in something much more fun, a video game. To anyone who knows what the acronym slack stands for, this isn't too much of a surprise. After all, Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge sounds like the name of some rogue AI from a dystopian cyberpunk game.
In 2009, Stewart Butterfield founded his second video game studio, known as Tiny Speck, and began work on Glitch. Despite successful fundraising, Glitch failed to make it out of beta. However, Tiny Speck's messaging software, which had been designed to coordinate communications between Slack's Canadian and U.S. teams, proved very popular with businesses.
By 2012, Glitch was dead, but Tiny Speck lived on and two years later, Slack was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. The startup proved to be the fastest growing in history, that by the end of 2014, it was valued at more than $1 billion.