Microsoft considered shelling out $8 billion for the messaging service Slack, according to a new report. Not everyone in charge as Microsoft liked the idea, though, and Bill Gates himself reportedly urged for the company to instead focus on Skype and ways to make it more competitive. The news follows the recent addition of voice calls to Slack, positioning it to better battle against Skype.
The information comes from TechCrunch, which cites an unnamed source. An ‘internal campaign’ by EVP Qi Lu reportedly sought support for an acquisition of Slack, but some remained skeptical including CEO Satya Nadella and Bill Gates. Lu reportedly had pushed for an acquisition that could have cost up to $8 billion -- when the campaign was dropped and the precise details about why weren't provided.
Slack has enjoyed extensive popularity, particularly among companies that use it as an internal way for teams to stay in contact. The service is made even more useful by its support for shortcodes and the increasing number of apps integrated into it. One fine is example is Lyft integration, which allows Slack users to order a car directly within the messaging platform.
Slack enjoys more than 2 million daily users, and has more than half a million paying users. With the addition of voice calling, it becomes an even more attractive option over Skype and some of Microsoft’s other platforms. Ultimately, though, Microsoft has decided to put its efforts into Skype, which still has the upper hand over Slack when it comes to certain things -- video calls, for example (though Slack says it is working on adding that feature, too).