Boldly Following Every Other Tech Company, Slack Is Cloning Clubhouse

Illustration for article titled Boldly Following Every Other Tech Company, Slack Is Cloning Clubhouse Now

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Slackfollowing in the grand old tradition of companies like Facebook, TikTok, and Twitteris planning on cloning buzzy app Clubhouses voice chatroom functionality.

Slack, which builds a chat room product primarily used by businesses, already allows users to place audio calls to one another. Per Protocol, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said in a recent Clubhouse session hosted by journalist Josh Constine that the company is beta testing a voice message function and it plans to offer on-the-fly video/voice rooms that dont require prescheduling or an actual call.

One could observe that the ongoing surge in a handful of tech firms just ripping off upstart competitors ideas is illustrative of a lack of imagination, anti-competitive behavior, or both. But in this case, it makes perfect sense, and Slack and Clubhouse are in completely different markets (business and consumer). Slack probably isnt interested in hosting the kind of freewheeling conversations with venture capitalists and other generally unpleasant people Clubhouse is known for so much as competing with video conference apps like Zoom that are eating into their business market.

Bafflingly, Slack is also planning on following Instagram, Twitter, and numerous other lesser apps in implementing its own version of Stories, the type of self-deleting video post originally brought to prominence by Snapchat. This builds on prior news that Slack is planning on expanding from an internal messaging platform to a company-to-company communications service, though one ponders whether theres any actual demand for Slack Stories or this is just another instance of a tech company bandwagoning a feature thats popular elsewhere. From Protocol:

Butterfield also said Slack would soon get an ephemeral video message feature commonly known as stories, similar to a message format originated by Snapchat and imitated by many, from Instagram to LinkedIn. Butterfield first indicated these features were on Slacks roadmap back in October. The new features come as Slack is making a push to turn its tool for internal company communications into a broader company-to-company messaging service.

As Protocol noted, Salesforce chief operating officer Bret Taylor, whose company plans to buy Slack in a deal currently being scrutinized by antitrust regulators, tweeted that he was surprised by the announcement.

Slack isnt the only one cloning features. Per Toms Guide, Microsoft Teams recently copied the Slack function which allows users to start reply threads under another users messages. Slack unrelatedly rolled back another feature that allowed paying users to send invites to any other paying user after it was pointed out that it didnt have any built-in protection against spam or harassment.

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