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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As with most big deals in tech, the key question to ask about Salesforce's $28 billion purchase of Slack isn't whether the price is too high or low, but whether the combination makes sense.

Between the lines: Big Tech companies have plenty of their own cash and can easily borrow more, but only a finite amount of time to innovate before rivals capture their turf.

  • In explaining the deal to investors on a previously scheduled conference call, CEO Marc Benioff characterized the move as a bet that the pandemic-driven shift to remote work isn't a temporary blip but rather a permanent transformation.

The big picture: Benioff has long considered acquiring widely used business tools as a means to expand Salesforce's footprint beyond the sales and marketing teams and into the broader workforce.

  • Salesforce kicked the tires on Twitter and lost out to Microsoft in a bidding war for LinkedIn.

Slack has the lead in its still-nascent space, but was facing a challenge of its own — namely that Microsoft's rival Teams was bundled into Office subscriptions.

  • As a standalone company, Slack couldn't easily manage such a move, nor could it afford to get into a price war.

What they're saying: Box CEO Aaron Levie praised the deal, noting how Salesforce has grown beyond its initial goals of taking on Oracle and SAP.

  • "This isn't just about the future of 'collaboration,'" he wrote in a blog post. "This is a new 'operating system' for how knowledge workers will interact in the future, connecting the front office, back office, and customers all together in a single platform."

Yes, but: The death of a standalone Slack isn't just sad for customers who liked the upstart, but also a blow to those who held up the company as proof that small companies could still take on the Big Tech giants.

What's next: The deal still needs regulatory approvals and also a formal go-ahead from shareholders — although 55% of Slack's voting power is already committed to supporting the sale.

Go deeper: Salesforce's Slack deal resets the tech antitrust debate

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 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull — CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer — Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines.
  2. Vaccines: Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — America's vaccination drive runs out of gas.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  5. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  6. Variant tracker

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.