Slack acquires startup Astro, kills off its email platform

Slack logo on a smartphone display in a denim pocket
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Slack has bought AI-powered email client Astro, hoping to integrate smarter features into its collaboration platform, the company has revealed.

Astro uses AI to surface the most important emails at the top of a user's inbox. It also supports integrations with calendars too, surfacing those crucial appointments before others that may flood your diary.

Astro has strong links with Slack it's already added some of its features to the platform via Slack's broad collection on integrations, and now slack reportedly wants to take this one step further by adding a native email management solution into its product. Astrobot, built by the company, allows you to check your email and calendar right from Slack.

But, for existing Astro users, it's bad news. As part of the deal, Astro's email application will be killed off on 10 October, a clear sign that Slack is building its own, similar email app that would make Astro's current product unnecessary

"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," Slack said in a statement.

Despite one of Slack's USPs being to eradicate the need for emailing, the purchase of Astro is a very smart move for the collaboration platform, especially as the majority of both companies' customers being business users. And we know how much Slack is trying to dominate the B2B market.

"Whereas last year we just needed to make it so that more people could use the Slack that already exists, now we're starting to take steps to expand what Slack is," April Underwood, Slack's chief product officer said, in a statement to Quartz.

The price of the acquisition has yet to be revealed, but given that Slack is now worth in excess of $7 billion, it's unlikely to make a dent in its fortunes.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.