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Email is for outside the boundaries (outside-of-company, outside-of-division in a silo'd company), chat is for inside - there's still people who do prefer email especially in partner facing roles, but I think its fair to say that most prefer using chat if they had a choice.

Not necessarily true. For example the enterprise I work in doesn't allow saving chat history. This makes email better for technical discussion that needs recorded.

What's the rationale behind that?

Legal. When we are sued (we make equipment used in dangerous environments, and we have a lot of money, so if there is the slightest chance we can be blamed we will be sued) US law says we need to give all relevant information to the other side. That includes any saved chat logs and emails. However if something was deleted before we are sued we don't have to give it out.

We lost a law suit once because a [not native English speaker] wrote "the bearing will fail with disastrous consequences", he meant the shaft would need to be replaced, but when a fire started in the area of the bearing that email was part of discovery and the jury decided the bearing was at fault for the fire not the user failing to clean the area which was our story. (legal would rather I not give you the case to read for yourself)

Chat tends to be less formal than email, thus more opportunity exists for something that is easy to take out of context. By not allowing saving chat logs we ensure they they will never get to court.

We have strict rules that emails must be deleted after a few months (unless we legally need to keep them). Any information in the email that is worth keeping longer than that is put in a formal system where legal can examine the words to ensure they won't be taken out of context and used against us.

You can make chat unavailable after x months along with email. Of course if actively being sued that may be longer.

Sounds wrong to me. Hiding chat logs or other business information from the company itself as well as customers (albeit suing ones) seem stupid. How would the company ever be able to audit its own operations? Getting sued is sometimes also not too bad as it can reveal bad practices within an organization. An analogy would be an X-ray, not entirely healthy but very revealing.

Normal companies do not operate voice recorders in offices/conference rooms or even telephone wiretaps, except for specific regulated positions. Text may be more convenient to collect and search but I don’t think it’s morally any different.

It doesn't matter what sort of business you are in, you need to have some ad-hoc communication that isn't part of a "permanent record", or else you incur communication friction everywhere.

Having it broken down by system is a pretty practical approach.

I suspect that part of it might be legal. It's too easy for someone to say something in chat that will look bad when you're sued.

I can organize and search my mail archive much better than chat, and I disable the notifications on chat anyway, so I'm not sure about that.

Email feels more asynchronous than chat. With an email, I don't expect an immediate answer, and I expect a better-researched answer.

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