Microsoft's CEO quietly took credit for Slack's success as the go-to workplace chat app: 'Would Slack have even existed' if not for Windows?

Microsoft's CEO quietly took credit for Slack's success as the go-to workplace chat app: 'Would Slack have even existed' if not for Windows?
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  • Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, cited Microsoft's free access as a reason for Slack's success.
  • Nadella dismissed claims that Microsoft is engaging in antitrust activity with its Teams service.
  • The CEO made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shrugged off Slack's antitrust complaints against Microsoft and attributed some of the chat app's successes to free access to MicrosoftWindows in an interview with Emily Chang of Bloomberg Television.

Nadella said, "Would Slack have even existed if it was not for the free access they had on top of, say, the Windows platform?"

The messaging app filed an antitrust complaint in Europe last year over Microsoft bundling its Teams chat platform with Office 365.

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Read more: Salesforce will have to justify its $27.7 billion Slack deal in 2021, experts say, while adjusting to executive upheaval and growing competition

He continued: "They didn't have to call Microsoft. They didn't have to go through any of our app stores."


Among the tech giants, Apple has faced backlash over charging commissions for in-app purchases on its App store. In late 2020, Apple marked the commission down from 30% to 15% on in-app purchases for "small developers," as Insider reported.

Both Apple and Google raised fees they charge developers in some European countries in late 2020 to defray costs from new European taxes. Microsoft charges a one-time fee for developers to register on its interface.

Nadella said to Bloomberg's Chang that Microsoft provides "the most open platform in Windows and even in Office 365."

Both Slack and its competitor Microsoft Teams have seen surges since remote work became the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. Salesforce acquired Slack in $28 billion deal, the companies announced in December 2020.

Microsoft did not immediately responded to a request for comment.


Jonathan Prince, Slack's vice president of communications and policy, said in an email, "the idea that Slack wouldn't exist without the company that has tried to copy and then destroy it is as silly as it is irrelevant."

Prince addded, "the only relevant question is whether Microsoft is illegally abusing its dominance and tying Teams to its apps and services in order to protect its chokehold on enterprise software and prevent the discovery and adoption of new and innovative tools. It's an especially brazen bait and switch for Mr. Nadella to ask us to ignore their current illegal behavior because their past illegal behavior doesn't include an attempt to block the launch of Slack on PCs back in 2013."

Microsoft is no stranger to antitrust complaints. Prior to Nadella's tenure, then CEO Bill Gates faced down a federal antitrust case in the early 1990s. In 1998, Microsoft was sued by the Justice Department. Initially, it was ruled that Microsoft should be broken up, but that ruling was later overturned.