Slack Buying Hipchat is Good for ChatOps

Atlassian announced that it is essentially conceding defeat to Slack.  They’re shuttering HipChat and Stride and actively migrating users to their former competitor. It’s no surprise to see Slack ascendent. The app has gone from cult-like email killer to seemingly de facto office app. But on hearing the news, my knee-jerk reaction is to bemoan the death of competition in the chat space. I don’t know when Slack went from insurgent to ascendant, but Atlassian’s retiring from the field has left Microsoft Teams as the only other major competitor.

But Nathaniel Avery makes an interesting argument why this may end up being good for users. He argues that the contracting ChatOps market will make both Slack and Microsoft Teams better, as both will now get deeper third-party integrations. These companies have less platforms to support. As a user it kind of stinks to have less choice. But as a developer, it’s now easier to create something for the widest possible audience.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this contraction will eventually remove some competitive pressure from Slack and MS Teams. A duopoly can settle into a comfortable dance that isn’t always best for user experience. This will also make it harder for any potential competitors, as these deeper integrations will make their omission glaring in a new product.

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About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.