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Slack executives ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. (NYSE Photo)

Slack now has 12 million daily active users, the latest indication of the fierce competition for dominance in the realm of chat and productivity tools.

That figure is up 37 percent over a year ago, the company said, but remains slightly behind one of its top competitors. In July, Microsoft said it had 13 million daily active users for its Slack competitor Microsoft Teams, a splashy announcement that showed the service had passed its top rival. However, it comes with the caveat that Teams is attached to Microsoft’s Office 365, giving the tech giant a huge ecosystem of users who wouldn’t have to pay any extra for Teams to pull from.

Slack also said approximately half of its users — about 6 million — pay for the service. That is double the 3 million paid users Facebook disclosed for its Workplace by Facebook productivity tool earlier this week.

(Slack Chart)

Slack stock is up about 6 percent in early trading Friday morning. The company went public in June and its stock spiked immediately, sending its valuation soaring. However, since its public debut, Slack stock is down 39 percent.

One big reason for that, according to Seeking Alpha, is the intense competition it faces from tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Google. The rivalry between Slack and Microsoft is well-documented and dates back to the launch of Teams in 2017.

Since then, Microsoft has acknowledged Slack as a major competitor. And it even included the tool on a list of software that Microsoft employees are discouraged or prohibited from using, primarily for security reasons.

Slack has acknowledged the uphill battle it faces against larger competitors, specifically Microsoft. In today’s blog post, Slack argues that its high level engagement among users — the average paid customer spends 9 hours a day on Slack and more than 90 minutes actively using it — gives it an advantage in shaping the future of work.

“(Daily active users) get cited a lot, but what, really, is their significance?” Brian Elliott, Slack’s vice president and general manager of platform wrote in the blog post. “In our book, the “U” is what matters: Use! Engagement is what makes Slack work — you can’t transform a workplace if people aren’t actually using the product.”

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