“Tech workers’ favorite communications tool, Slack, is losing ground to its biggest rival, Microsoft Teams, which has copied its way into popularity,” writes Rani Molla for Recode. “In other words, Slack has the same problem as Snapchat, which has suffered from its bigger rival Facebook’s relentless appropriation.” From the report: Slack’s market share among the world’s largest companies is mostly flat, adoption rates are declining, and a bigger portion of these companies indicate they plan on leaving the service, according to a new survey by market research firm ETR, which asks chief information officers and other leaders at the world’s biggest organizations* where they plan to spend their company’s tech budget. Meanwhile, Teams is seeing increased market share, relatively higher adoption rates, and low rates of defection, according to the data.
Slack, which is currently trading below its first-day opening price, has been beset both by smaller companies hoping to improve upon it and tech giants trying to copy and replace it. Microsoft, at one point, had even considered buying Slack. Instead, nearly four years after Slack’s debut, Microsoft launched Teams, which has since adopted many of its competitor’s functions, including the basic premise of creating an online office space for coworkers to collaborate and communicate. The situation was similar with Facebook, which after failing to buy Snapchat began to copy it, feature by feature. Facebook did this with impunity because it’s not really possible to copyright what software does — you can only copyright the code itself. Since products like Slack and Microsoft Teams or Facebook and Snapchat are built on different platforms, the code for each is likely distinct, so copying features is fair game.