I’m never sure whether to call Quip a collaboration platform or a word processor—it has elements of both, and also incorporates spreadsheet-like features—but I do know that it’s one of the cleverest, most polished productivity tools out there. And now it’s going to be part of enterprise productivity behemoth Salesforce, which has agreed to acquire it, reportedly for about $750 million.
With Quip as part of its portfolio, Salesforce will encroach on the territory that Microsoft has dominated for more than two decades with Word and the entire Office suite. But does that mean that Microsoft erred by not snapping up the startup, founded by former Facebook CTO (and new Twitter board member) Bret Taylor? I don’t think so: Offering Word and Quip forever wouldn’t have made much sense, and much of Quip’s appeal comes from its stripped-down, un-Wordlike personality.
For better or worse, Microsoft is going to have to figure out how to make Word, Excel, and their suitemates into the future of collaborative productivity—and the fact that another giant such as Salesforce will also be on the job will only increase the pressure.