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Slack Unveils New Tools in Heated Competition on Hybrid Work

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(Bloomberg) -- Slack Technologies Inc. is releasing new features to help people work with their colleagues whether in the office or at home, a sign of the stepped up competition around managing a hybrid workforce.

Slack Huddles, one of the new tools, will let users have casual audio conversations across channels and direct messages on the workplace communications platform. Other features include the ability to create and play back video and audio recordings with a full transcript as well as an employee directory called Slack Atlas.

As pandemic lockdowns have waned, the future of remote work has become a pressing question, and Slack’s competitors have launched hybrid work features in a race to accommodate companies’ needs. Microsoft Corp. last week unveiled design changes to its Teams platform in order to improve remote workers’ interactions in meetings. Zoom Video Communications Inc. announced Tuesday that it will purchase Germany-based Kites GmbH to improve language translation capabilities on its videoconferencing service. Alphabet Inc.’s Google earlier this month revealed updates to its Workspace productivity suite, including new tools for its Meet videoconferencing system.

Slack’s new features will be rolled out on different timelines for different customer plans. Slack Huddles, for example, will be available Wednesday to paid customers.

Slack is being acquired by Salesforce.com Inc. for $27.7 billion. The deal is a part of Salesforce Chief Executive Office Marc Benioff’s expansion efforts for his San Francisco-based company, which is the market leader in software to manage customer relationships. Salesforce is selling $8 billion of bonds to help pay for the purchase, which is expected to be completed by the end of July.

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