Slack CEO skeptical about moving work to the metaverse

Dec. 14, 2021 2:11 PM ETSalesforce, Inc. (CRM)METABy: Brian Stewart, SA News Editor24 Comments

Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) initial public offering IPO with direct listing on New York Stock Exchange. Stewart Butterfield CEO. Workplace collaboration SAAS software

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  • Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield gave a skeptical outlook for integrating the metaverse into everyday work experience, saying the provider of workplace communication tools has seen recent success with more stripped-down features.
  • "It's a little hard for me to imagine putting the goggles on all day," he told CNBC on Tuesday, explaining why a totally immersive digital experience, like the one imagined by Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), might not catch on in a workplace setting.
  • Rather, the head of Slack, which is owned by Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), said his company has seen "tremendous success" with simpler communication tools. He specifically pointed to Slack's Huddle feature, which facilitates casual voice-only interactions.
  • "So that's kind of pointing in the opposite direction, where we're having the minimal amount multimedia interface," he said.
  • Despite being unconvinced about the metaverse, Butterfield believes the tight integration of digital technology and the workplace will remain a permanent feature of the economy.
  • "The hybrid kind of environment is here to stay forever," he said. "Going back to the office for two days a week doesn't seem like a decrease from five anymore. It seems like an increase from zero."
  • Commenting on the merger with Salesforce (CRM), which closed in July, Butterfield reported that the integration has had a "positive impact on Slack's business."
  • He added that "a lot of the momentum will show up next year."
  • CRM marched steadily higher for much of the second half of 2021, reaching a 52-week high of $311.75 in early November. However, the stock suffered a sell off in the final weeks of that month, propelled in part by a disappointing forecast for Q4.
  • Shares have found their footing lately but remain well off the November peak. On Tuesday, the stock slipped nearly 5% in intraday trading, falling to $253.55 at about 2:15 p.m. ET.
  • Even with the recent retreat, CRM has outperformed the broader market since closing the Slack merger in late July. Shares are up about 9% over that period, compared to an advance of less than 7% for the S&P 500.

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