Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Salesforce’s acquisition of work chat company Slack for $28 billion to better compete with Microsoft underscores just how hard it is for tech companies big and small to challenge today's dominant tech giants.

Flashback: Less than a year ago, Justice Dept. assistant attorney general for antitrust Makan Delrahim touted Slack’s trajectory from small VC-backed startup to publicly-traded software company as an illustration of a healthy, well-functioning market in which it's possible for newcomers to prosper independently. 

  • “Slack’s ability to IPO and provide an independent source of competition to other technology platforms is an example of a venture capital system working to create a healthy economy,” Delrahim said during a DoJ workshop at Stanford University focused on venture capital and antitrust. 

Yes, but: Slack's decision to sell to Salesforce came as the upstart business-messaging provider faced an uphill battle against Microsoft, which has built up its Teams product and bundled it with its other business offerings.

The other side: Another way to view the Salesforce/Slack combination is to see it as an example of companies using mergers and acquisitions to create competition rather than to squelch it. A smart deal can find a combination that challenges powerful rivals.

Of course, that depends on how well the combination is executed.

  • In 2012, Microsoft acquired a Slack predecessor named Yammer. 
  • Though Yammer initially fared well, Slack eclipsed it in the marketplace.
  • By the time Microsoft set out to challenge Slack, it decided to build a new product rather than promote Yammer (or, for that matter, Skype, another previous Microsoft acquisition that also has a messaging function).

Go deeper: VCs push back on DOJ antitrust concerns

Go deeper

Frenetic tech giants' next trick: Learn patience and play a long game

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In 2021, tech, an industry built on speedy change, is going to have to learn to wait.

The big picture: Every crisis tech faces — from the onslaught of antitrust litigation to the massive SolarWinds cyberattack to the pandemic's toll on health and the economy — has unfolded in slow motion and will take at least as long to resolve.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.