Slack has been growing rapidly in the business space, despite the appearance of Microsoft Teams, and earlier this year it acquired HipChat and Stride to stay ahead of the offering from Redmond. Today, the business communications app is making its biggest purchase ever by bringing in e-mail service Astro.
Astro was founded in 2015 in order to make e-mail smarter and help users get to their most relevant messages and people more easily, reducing distractions. The service is available on all major platforms, and it even launched its own apps for Microsoft and Google's respective e-mail platforms.
Slack's relationship with Astro started with the launch of the Astrobot, an app for the messaging service which connected it to e-mail and calendar services, making it possible to search for items across channels and e-mails or see upcoming events. By acquiring Astro, Slack hopes to make this interoperability better:
We’ve taken some steps to make it possible to integrate email into Slack, but now we’re in a position to make that interoperability much simpler and much, much more powerful. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to help teams shift conversations to where they would be most productive(...).
As a result of the purchase, Astro will be shutting down all of its own apps on October 10, with new sign-ups already being disabled. This won't affect your existing e-mails, since the service is constantly synchronized with the associated e-mail services. You will, however, want to check if you have snoozed and scheduled any messages for after the shutdown, as they will be lost otherwise.
Slack says there are over 50 million channels on its platform today and integrations with e-mail services could bring a lot more power to the service, potentially making it more compelling for users. Being that Microsoft has its own Outlook e-mail platform, it will be interesting to see how it responds to this integration in Slack.