As Microsoft looms, Slack and Amazon announce strategic partnership

Where do you turn when a tech giant is threatening your business? One strategy is to form a partnership with another tech giant where you can combine some resources to increase business, roll out new features, or cut costs. And that, in a nutshell, helps explain why Slack and Amazon Web Services have announced a new strategic partnership.

Under the multiyear agreement, the two companies will “deliver tightly integrated, enterprise-grade tools” as Slack expands its already sizable presence on AWS. As part of the partnership, Slack will move its Slack Calls voice and video calling service to Amazon Chime, AWS’s communications service. Slack and AWS say the move will help Slack “deliver high-quality and reliable user experiences while eliminating the cost and complexity of maintaining its own unified communications infrastructure.”

With AWS, Slack adds ‘data residency’ feature

Slack will also use AWS’s existing infrastructure to give its customers “data residency,” meaning enterprises using Slack can now choose a country or region for its data at rest, an important consideration for compliance purposes for many companies. Slack also expects to develop new collaboration features for its enterprise users by leveraging a wide range of AWS services, including storage, compute, analytics, and machine learning.

In return, Amazon says it will use Slack within AWS to “simplify the way teams at AWS communicate and work together.” And, of course, Amazon gets new business from an existing client.

Microsoft’s threat

Both AWS and Slack are fighting the same powerful rival. Microsoft has made inroads against AWS with its Azure cloud service, and Microsoft Teams is in the midst of an aggressive battle to siphon off Slack customers in the red-hot workplace collaboration sector. As Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield told The Verge in a recent interview, “Microsoft is perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing us.” Slack’s recent quarterly earnings report was not greeted warmly by Wall Street, as analysts worried about the competitive onslaught from Microsoft Teams. And on the cloud front, Azure’s market share has been steadily growing while No. 1 AWS remains flat.

In addition to migrating Slack Calls to Amazon Chime, the two companies announced several other feature and service combinations. For example, the integration of the new Amazon AppFlow with Slack will allow users to securely transfer data between Slack and AWS services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service and Amazon Redshift. The companies said this will simplify a number of tasks, including analyzing trends from helpdesk requests.

Featured image: Shutterstock / TechGenix photo illustration

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