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Slack messaging service suffers global outage

Posted at Jan 05, 2021

Slack, the messaging service used by millions of people for work and school, has suffered a global outage on Monday.

The service disruption occurred on the first day back to work for many people returning from the New Year’s holiday, underscoring just how intensely millions have come to rely on such online services to work and go to school from home during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Our team is currently investigating and we’re sorry for any troubles this may be causing,” Slack said in a statement.

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The outage began around 10am eastern time and disrupted service in the US, Germany, India, the UK, Japan and elsewhere. Slack said that people should check its status site for updates. As of 1pm eastern time many users on Twitter had reported the service was back, though Slack’s website said customers may still be experiencing disruptions.

“Some customers may be able to connect, but may also experience degraded performance,” Slack said in a tweet. “We’re continuing to work to resolve the issue.”

The chat service, which allows for the creation of public and private breakout rooms as well as one-on-one chats, was launched in 2013 and quickly became an omnipresent tool for workplaces. It went public in 2019, opening nearly 50% above its expected price at $38.50, putting its initial market cap at $19.5bn. The platform had more than 12m users as of 2020, the last time the company publicized its daily user count. Its market cap is now more than $24bn.

Monday’s outage came as Slack is in the process of being acquired by cloud-based software company for $27.7bn. The deal is aimed at giving the two companies a better shot at competing against longtime industry powerhouse Microsoft. Slack shares were down about 1% late Monday morning.

Slack previously grappled with outages in 2019. The company revealed in its September earnings report it lost $8.2m in revenue after issuing credits to customers whose services were disrupted. Its stock to tumbled 14% in the aftermath.

Internet service outages are not uncommon, and are usually resolved relatively swiftly. They are only rarely the result of hacking or other intentional mischief.

Google went down briefly in December, with people in several countries unable to access their Gmail accounts, watch YouTube videos or get to their online documents during an outage. In August, Zoom went down just as many students were beginning the school year at home. And in September, Microsoft services had an outage that lasted for five hours.