Atlassian’s HipChat has been a dead service walking for a while now. As of next February 15, it will be dead, period. The company is discontinuing it and a newer collaboration tool, Stride, and throwing its support behind the company that has trounced both, Slack. The deal comes with a “small but symbolically important” investment in Slack by Atlassian, according to a tweet by Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. Slack is acquiring intellectual property relating to the two products to aid migration, but not the products themselves.
Launched in 2010 (and acquired by Atlassian in 2012), HipChat was a handy way for team members to exchange messages in real time, and it quickly became popular. But in 2014, Slack—which did largely the same thing in a far more polished way—started to catch fire. Rather than trying to ensure that HipChat stayed Mothra to Slack’s Godzilla, Atlassian let it founder. Last September, it announced Stride and seemingly lost whatever remaining interest it had in HipChat: In recent months, the HipChat.com home page was an ad for Stride and didn’t even tell you how to log into HipChat.
As with many battles between two tech products that end with a decisive winner, Slack won over HipChat mostly by building a better product. But it’s tempting to wonder if there’s an alternate universe where Atlassian put up more of a fight, thereby creating healthy competition and benefiting users of both services.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Teams remains in the workplace-chat race, and its recent addition of a free version means it’s taking on Slack even more directly than in the past.