I remember using HipChat and wasn't terribly impressed, but I was used to it. I then switched jobs and was asked to start using Slack. Naturally, in my head I thought "oh great, I gotta learn a whole new thing." That thought was gone by the end of my first day since virtually everything about it was better than workplace chats I've used in the past. (I don't know how HipChat is now but I'm sure it's improved since 2013).
Seriously, most chat apps at the time were pretty dogcrap. A lot of people judge it, especially today, by functionality over form. Personally, I put a somewhat stronger emphasis on form so long as the core functionality is solid. I don't really get the people who claim it's glorified IRC; yeah, guess what, most people didn't want to use IRC because they had to understand what IRC was, what IRC client to use, oops my client doesn't work on macOS, oh hey look someone from the Czech Republic is DDOSing the channel, etc. It's funny how nerds keep thinking "if only everyone was a nerd" and get disappointed when the average person doesn't want to use X nerd-thing. Like "the year of the Linux desktop", there was never going to be a "year of the IRC client". People want to open up an app and to send messages to people, and I agree with them.
These days, there's more serious competition in the arena, and that's because Slack redefined the standard.
Internally, we use HipChat for our group within the company.
I much prefer HipChat over Slack.
To me, Slack is bloated, slow, and disorganized. I hate, loathe, and despise the way it tries to do what it thinks of as "threading".
HipChat is simpler and faster to use. It's easy to connect plugins and administer. It's easy to add your own custom emoji, if you really need them. And it's easy to configure it to auto-hide animated GIFs, if you don't want to see them by default.
There is nothing that Slack offers that I want. And plenty that it forces me to live with that I do not want.
I see the classic situation of "post acquisition we serve the needs of our parent company, not necessarily the users".
I used to be on a team that used Hipchat. After they got acquired by Atlassian the story was "look we integrate with Atlassian products" which was useless to us. We wanted bug fixes and some new features. Eventually we switched to Slack because it did what we needed.
The article makes a point that the first movers don't always win in the long term and I agree. Slack had the right user experience to make people want to use team chats, but that doesn't mean that experience won't be improved on. Instant messaging/chat apps' popularities have proven to be quite ephemeral over the years and I doubt the current generation will be different
Making such judgement now feel way too premature. It's the same as when people proclaim that Tesla won the EV market. The market is barely taking its first steps...
In the meantime everybody close shop and go home. Slack already won. :)
Multi Accounts, sure, but that is simple and easy for them to implement.
(Slack refusing to sell to Microsoft from this angle looks like the very reason why they won't "win" in the long term.)
And The Web was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of The Protocol. And the NCSA moved upon the face of the code.
And Andreessen said "Let there be a GUI" and there was a graphical browser.
And Filo and Yang saw this graphical browser and created order from chaos...
Is there any real innovation over IRC? Beyond that, I remember using Campfire almost five years ago and it had pretty close feature parity with Slack today. This seems like a revolution in usability and branding if anything.
With IRC, you either run your own server or trust a server run by someone with whom you probably have no commercial relationship.
IRC clients mostly suck, for the purposes of people who are not already IRC aficionados.
File transfers are, afaicr, not ideal with IRC.
Bottom line is, IRC doesn’t just work in the way most people need.
Sure, it’s branding and usability but they’re hugely important.
Wouldn't this exact scenario have played out had it been OSS?
For example: We have a slack channel for every support case with our business. Whenever a case is closed, we archive that channel.
Whenever a channel is archived, slackbot sends a direct message to every user in that channel so they will know it was archived. The message cannot be muted, and has the same notification authority as a direct message from a real person.
This means that when someone is closing support cases while I am not working, my phone will alarm me that I got a direct message from a slack user; something that I generally need to know about.
Slack has had an issue open regarding this for months, yet nothing has changed. If I had an open-source client, I would have fixed this problem myself as soon as I ran in to it.
An IRC bot is no match for a Slack bot when it comes to simplicity and availability.
Fun fact: several months ago, Russia blocked Telegram. Telegram refused to go quietly and started hopping between numerous Amazon IPs to avoid direct IP blocking. The Russian regulators started blocking Amazon IPs en masse and severely damaged internet connectivity for weeks. Youtube slowed down to a crawl. Slack was paralyzed. Discord? Not even a hiccup.
We all saw how quickly folks migrated off hipchat.
This is commodity software.
It's only a matter of time until MSFT gets their shit together, ships a passable chat product, and crushes slack, having sales channels into like 90% of like all businesses.
Slack is a joke and if they were publicly traded I'd short them.
Inb4 my company's documentation is searchable chat
Salesforce would be an interesting acquisition. Maybe they could merge that in with their Dynamics division, perhaps shunted under Azure.
We keep happily using Skype for Business and Lotus Sametime.