Salesforce starts competing with Microsoft PowerPoint

By:  Jordan Novet

Microsoft’s widely used PowerPoint software for creating slide presentations has some new competition from a familiar rival: Salesforce.

Salesforce’s Quip business, which already offers tools for word processing and working on spreadsheets, introduced Quip Slides on Tuesday. The software is available for free users of the service as well as paying corporate customers.

Microsoft and Salesforce have long competed in the market for customer relationship management software and also have rival products for internal chat. The companies partner in various ways, but the relationship has become strained since Microsoft outbid Salesforce for LinkedIn in 2016.

The introduction of Quip Slides is another sign that Salesforce is going more directly at the Office suite of productivity tools, a key part of Microsoft’s business. It’s also an alternative to Google Slides, which is part of Alphabet’s growing cloud business.

“It’s our goal with Quip to help nearly every person at nearly every company in the world to get their work done,” Kevin Gibbs, co-founder and CEO of Quip, said in an interview. Gibbs took the helm at Quip last year, when its previous CEO, Bret Taylor, was elevated to the position of Salesforce’s chief product officer.

Salesforce acquired Quip in 2016 for $582 million.

Salesforce's Quip Slides.

Salesforce’s Quip Slides.

The company started working on the new product a year and a half ago in response to customer feedback, Gibbs said. Quip Slides lets users respond to surveys within presentations, have conversations and view charts of current data from Salesforce’s Sales Cloud tool and Quip’s spreadsheets.

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“You do not want to give Jeff Bezos a seven-year head start.”

Folders of files stored in Box and Dropbox can be embedded in slides, and users can collaborate as they make new decks in Quip slides.

Gibbs said Quip doesn’t have plans to introduce email or voice-calling services, which are available from Google and Microsoft’s productivity bundles. He said that Quip is still a small part of Salesforce and that “it’s still early” for the group. Quip has more than 100,000 weekly users within Fortune 100 companies, including Facebook, Gibbs said.