Amazon allows Slack for workers as Slack adopts AWS video calling technology

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Slack and Amazon are deepening their partnership. As part of a new agreement announced Thursday, all Amazon employees will have access to collaboration tools at Slack’s workplace. In addition, Slack will increase its dependence on AWS, by redesigning its video calling function to take advantage of an AWS service called Chime.

Alliance helps two companies fight Microsoft, whose Teams communications service has grown in popularity alongside Slack in recent months, as businesses and schools have searched for software that allows people to meet remotely during the pandemic of coronavirus.

Slack’s growth has remained stable during the coronavirus pandemic, but has not accelerated, despite the fact that many companies have decided to keep their employees at home, the company revealed on Thursday in its report on the results of the first fiscal quarter. The company’s shares fell more than 15% after hours.

Amazon and Slack have a long history. Slack has run its service on Amazon Web Services since its launch in 2014, and has continued to rely on AWS to meet additional demand during the pandemic. In 2018, Slack agreed to pay AWS at least $ 250 million over five years to use various services, according to Slack’s latest annual report.

The new deal was negotiated separately from Slack’s cloud contract, the companies said, refusing to disclose the exact terms.

Some Amazon teams have used Slack before, but this agreement will take it to all employees. Amazon is the second largest private sector employer in the United States, with more than 840,000 full-time and part-time employees in the first quarter.

Amazon employees were able to use an internal video calling tool called Chime, which the company also offers to its customers.

But Matt Garman, AWS vice president of sales and marketing, admitted in an interview that Amazon did not invest in the Chime user interface as Slack did.

“We have a client user interface. It’s good, but it’s not Slack. They are much better. It’s a much richer experience. You can do much more. “

Garman noted, “More and more, I see customers who want to use the best products that work together. They don’t have to use a single monolithic battery.

But while Chime’s user experience may be lacking, Slack embraces the underlying infrastructure that Amazon built to power it. As part of the new agreement, Slack will use the Chime infrastructure to provide voice and video calls within its application, rather than relying on its own system, which builds on the technology acquired during the acquisition in 2015 of the start-up Screenhero.

The move to Chime infrastructure could make Slack video calls more reliable and provide additional functionality, said Brad Armstrong, vice president of business and corporate development at Slack.

Slack plans to turn on video calling on mobile devices and add call transcripts that can be automatically dropped into Slack text conversations so people can read them, said Armstrong.

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