Facebook says 30,000 businesses now use its Slack competitor, Workplace

  • Facebook's Slack competitor is an enterprise version of its social network for communicating with your co-workers.
  • Facebook is also launching new features for Workplace, including a group video chat feature and a desktop chat app.
  • Facebook is not sharing how many of those businesses are paying customers.
Photo by Bloomberg

Facebook's Slack competitor is growing quickly.

A year after Facebook officially launched Workplace, an enterprise version of its social network for communicating with your co-workers, the company has 30,000 businesses using the service, up from roughly 1,000 businesses a year ago and 14,000 businesses six months ago.

Facebook is also launching new features for Workplace, including a group video chat feature and a desktop chat app so users can send messages back and forth without the need to have Facebook open in their browser.

Facebook pushes hard into a lot of different products, and the ones that don't work out usually fade away. The fact that Facebook is still building new features for Workplace — and touting new growth milestones — shows that the company is taking its push into enterprise pretty seriously despite a slow start. (Facebook was building the product for years before its official launch.)

But while 30,000 businesses customers feels like a lot, it's a little tough to put into perspective.

Facebook is not sharing how many of those businesses are paying customers, for example — Facebook rolled out a free version of Workplace in April and also offers the service for free to nonprofits and educational institutions.

Facebook also doesn't share how many users it has, just total businesses. Slack, the highly valued Silicon Valley startup that offers a similar office tool, claims more than four million users. As a result, you can't really compare the two (which is probably the point).

We also don't know how much revenue Workplace brings in. That's not uncommon for Facebook. The social network doesn't even break out revenue for Instagram, and that business is much older and estimated to be pretty big. But it makes it tough to understand just how successful Workplace has been.

Still, Facebook's push into enterprise is worth watching. The company makes almost all of its revenue from advertising, and Workplace provides Facebook with a subscription product at a time when it's hunting for revenue businesses outside of the core Facebook News Feed.

By Kurt Wagner, Recode.net.

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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