Facebook’s Workplace Is Gaining Ground as it Prepares to Pounce on Slack

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Facebook has started crawling into the last space in your life it hasn’t yet dominated.

Last year, Facebook started crawling into the last space in your life it didn’t yet dominate—the office. It announced its Workplace platform as a communication tool for companies, entering the crowded market of workplace chat services. From the beginning, Workplace elicited comparisons with the increasingly ubiquitous Slack, whose flutter-like notification gives many a tech or media employee a sting of anxiety.

On Thursday (Oct. 26), one year after the launch of Workplace, Facebook said more than 30,000 businesses were using the platform. It introduced new features such as a standalone desktop chat app.

This seems a lightning pace of growth, especially considering it took Slack three years to reach a similar number of what it calls “paid teams.” Turns out you can’t fairly compare the two. Facebook, whose platform is generally cheaper than Slack’s, included in that 30,000 number businesses that use the free version of Workplace, which it launched in April. Facebook wouldn’t provide Quartz with a breakdown of how many customers are paid and how many use the service for free.

Facebook will have more competition to worry about. Atlassian’s Hipchat, one of the older messaging systems, introduced a re-vamped version in September. Microsoft Teams, which launched globally in March, announced it would replace the company’s Skype for Business platform next year.