With Slack, Salesforce Would Put Heat on Microsoft


Salesforce . com Inc. has thrived for years as a niche business-software vendor with a chief executive, Marc Benioff, who has positioned himself as a prominent voice in American business.

Now Mr. Benioff is taking steps that analysts say aim higher, intensifying the company’s battle with the industry’s biggest player: Microsoft Corp.

Salesforce is in advanced talks to buy Slack Technologies Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, in what would be Mr. Benioff’s biggest acquisition to date and the company’s most direct attack on a market Microsoft has identified as critical to its growth.

The deal, which could still fall through, would add fuel to Salesforce’s ambition to become the go-to software platform for business customers to use for everything from data analysis to managing customer relationships to even daily communication.

The pandemic has amplified Salesforce’s efforts. When Covid-19 broke out, Mr. Benioff quickly launched Work.com—a suite of applications companies could use for contract tracing, mental-health checks and shift scheduling.

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