Slack and Amazon are joining hands to take on Microsoft; here’s what it means for users

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Updated: June 05, 2020 11:58 AM

Slack has signed a multi-year agreement with Amazon which will entail two big developments.

slackSlack is partnering with Amazon to take on Microsoft. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Slack is partnering with Amazon to take on Microsoft, even Google to an extent. Slack has signed a multi-year agreement with Amazon which will entail two big developments. For one, the largely business-centric communication platform will fully embrace Amazon Web Services (AWS), going forward, in addition to switching to Amazon Chime for voice and video calling. Secondly, all Amazon employees will now use Slack, at least, professionally.

Slack had been relying on AWS to power its chat app previously, but the new Amazon partnership means it will adopt it in a much broader context. From storage to database, from compute to security, so on and so forth. The partnership also means Slack will get first-hand access to any feature that Amazon rolls out in the future. With the Amazon partnership in place, it seems highly unlikely now that Slack will turn to Microsoft’s Azure or Google Cloud for collaboration. Enterprise customers, like IBM for instance, will directly reap the benefits of this partnership.

Another big change, and one that was necessary, is Slack tapping into Amazon’s Chime for voice and video calling. Voice and video calling has been an Achilles heel for Slack, something that rival Microsoft has been exploiting for good all this time. Microsoft Teams gets enterprise customers safe and secure voice and video calling that’s also very reliable to the T, something that’s become very relevant in the current pandemic scenario for business continuity.

Slack has been late to the party because it’s simply been unable to crack the voice and video calling code. With Amazon’s backing and Chime technology, Slack could bring much needed improvements and become more than just another chat app or service in the days to come. Whether or not that will help Slack usurp Microsoft Teams is something only time will tell, but surely, the Amazon partnership is huge and is very likely to have far reaching repercussions.

Slack has had a disappointing first quarter at a time when investors would have expected it to perform better. The Amazon partnership might just be the shot in the arm it needs to keep them “interested” though  the company has withdrawn its 2021 billing outlook citing uncertainty in business in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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