2021: Salesforce & Slack, Amazon & Wondery – Deals and Forecasts from Silicon Valley and How Companies in Germany Benefit from Them [5 Reading Tips]

2021 Salesforce Slack
Source: Unsplash/Mark König

January, February, March, April? The Internet never stands still. By now, everyone should have entered the new year, so it is time for digital economy forecasts: What can companies and customers expect in 2021? Which tech trends should you keep an eye on? Handelskraftadamus, your trusted blog, is looking at the stars for you today.

2021: Amazon Will Rely on Podcasts

Amazon has announced that it is in the midst of acquiring the podcast network Wondery. Wondery is known for podcasts such as »Dirty John« and »Dr. Death«. By doing so, Amazon is strengthening its podcast efforts. With the podcast network Wondery, which was only founded in 2016, the e-commerce giant is taking over the fourth largest podcast provider in the USA. Wondery is to become part of Amazon Music. Only last September, the streaming service was expanded to include a podcast section. Amazon assures listeners that nothing will change.

Apparently, the Wondery podcasts will not move exclusively to Amazon Music either, but will still be available via »a variety of providers«. Amazon mentions podcasts in the same breath as the Twitch integration and the HD version of the music service. With this wide range of media, Amazon wants to become the first port of call for content creators.

What is striking here is that Amazon is relatively new to the podcast market – a market in which providers such as Spotify have a huge lead. Amazon has not revealed the financial details of the acquisition. According to a Wall Street Journal report, it is about a sum of approximately 300 million US dollars. So far, Wondery has financed itself through risk capital. The company has received a total of 15 million dollars to date. In the USA, more than nine million people listened to a Wondery podcast in November 2020.

2021: The Year of Salesforce’s Love Affair with Slack

Salesforce acquires Slack, thus putting itself in an excellent position with many people working from home  – a growth opportunity that Salesforce will seize. This way, Salesforce adds a modern chat client to its CRM platform. However, there is more behind the deal than just the integration of another service. Slack can be used as a vehicle for several of Salesforce’s strategic development approaches. Slack’s open ecosystem will bring the biggest change. Ultimately, Slack might lead to a huge growth spurt for Salesforce.

In comparison to Microsoft, which has a fully featured communication solution with Microsoft Teams, Salesforce had previously lacked a solution for the era of working from home. In terms of functionality and visual appearance, Salesforce’s internal messenger was miles away from being usable as an alternative to Teams or Slack. With the acquisition of Slack, Salesforce secures one of the most important solutions for remote collaboration. Enterprise software, such as that offered by Salesforce on its platform, is used in many companies and CRM, customer service, e-commerce and marketing solutions are indisputably important. However, simple and modern communication solutions such as Slack, which make collaborative work more fluid, are the glue that holds everything together in the era of working from home. In Slack, Teams or Google Meet, all threads of corporate communication come together.

Salesforce will integrate some of the features of its various cloud solutions directly into Slack. This is expected to allow users to work productively directly in Slack – and not just communicate productively about their work as is the case with Teams or Meet. It makes life much easier for a marketing manager if, for example, Salesforce Marketing Cloud posts the results of a campaign directly to the corresponding Slack channel. With Teams or Meet, a connection would have to be established first. Another example would be a service employee who can directly initiate a repair order with a customer via Slack.

Salesforce offers some low-code and no-code development platforms for apps and applications, which can then be offered in Salesforce’s own app store AppExchange. Slack has around 2,400 apps for the integration of third-party applications, Microsoft Teams only has about 650. Salesforce AppExchange offers about 3,600 enterprise applications. According to an announcement made at the recent virtual Dreamforce conference, Salesforce now wants to bring this variety of options together and create a common ecosystem. In a very short time, this will create something that connects the Salesforce world to a large number of existing enterprise solutions that previously had nothing to do directly with Salesforce.

2021: Google Will Cooperate with Facebook

Say what? Google will cooperate with Facebook in 2021? Well, in some way at least: due to agreements with Facebook, anti-trust proceedings are currently underway against Google. However, the two companies have apparently planned for such problems.

It seems that Google and Facebook want to help each other if those agreements regarding online advertising are to be legally investigated. This is reported by the Wall Street Journal, referring to an unabridged version of the anti-trust suit filed against Google by ten US states a week before. The states accuse Google of controlling pricing and of market collusion. In concrete terms: Google reportedly struck a deal with Facebook in 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s advertising tools. In return, Google was to give Facebook preferential treatment when using these tools.

Apparently, the companies knew that such an agreement might violate applicable anti-trust law – and agreed to help each other in the event of a lawsuit. Google told the Wall Street Journal that such agreements were not unusual. The company further stated that the deal with Facebook did not contain any exclusive advantages and that the same data would also be offered to others.

How the situation will develop is just as unclear as the »cooperation«. However, one thing is clear: it will be exciting to see how the market power of the Big Five will be legally contained or at least assessed in 2021.

2021: Lieferando Will Continue to Benefit from COVID-19

As expected, Lieferando strongly benefits from the Corona crisis. »Overall, Corona has brought us a year forward in terms of restaurant numbers,« Katharina Hauke, Managing Director Germany at Lieferando, told the Tagesspiegel (German daily newspaper). She stated that more than 20,000 restaurants were currently listed on the platform. In the third quarter of 2020, the number of orders grew by 38 per cent, with ten million orders being passed on monthly. »On average, a restaurant generates a turnover of 100,000 euros per year thanks to our platform,« Hauke said.

For this intermediary service, Lieferando normally charges the restaurant 13 per cent of the turnover generated if the restaurant delivers the order itself. 30 per cent is charged if Lieferando also takes over the delivery. »Restaurants deliver 90 per cent of orders themselves,« Hauke explained.

With no end in sight to the Corona pandemic and the associated flood of pizza orders in 2021, and with Lieferando reporting strong sales growth in recent months, the food delivery company will continue to grow and attract investors in 2021.

For manufacturers, brands and retailers, this raises the question of how they can also benefit from the current situation and maintain their position in the market. A functioning and user-friendly online platform will most likely also be worthwhile beyond the pandemic.

2021: Apple AirTags Are Coming – Maybe

Never look for things or lose something again? Thanks to Apple, this dream might already become reality in 2021.

In spring 2019, first rumours surfaced that Apple is working on a small device that you can attach to objects to find them again using your iPhone. The company itself leaked the existence of these trackers in official screenshots, which is also where the term »AirTags« first appeared.

Ever since, there has been speculation about an »imminent« release. However, 2020 brought no news in this regard either, so we are still waiting.  At the end of 2020, Apple announced that the production was underway and that the Tile competitor could be expected in 2021. The first images of original Apple accessories also came to light at that time.

While it is still unclear when Apple will officially present the AirTags, there is now a new leak regarding accessories. Evan Blass, who had previously shown official images of all iPhone 12 models in advance, has now obtained further images of possible accessories. These show that not only Apple but also accessory manufacturers such as Nomad are already planning accessories for the AirTags.

As an ongoing process, innovations can always generate buzz and the example of Apple shows that (planned) innovations at least ensure that people keep talking about you when there is nothing else relevant to announce.

Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week

Google, Facebook Made Secret Deal to Divvy up Market, Texas Alleges [POLITICO]

Was Salesforce mit dem Kauf von Slack bezweckt [t3n]

A Rare Window of Opportunity: How Winners of the COVID Crisis Can Act Now to Sustain Their Business Growth [Loyalty Prime]

AirTags-Leak: Erneut Bilder zum Zubehör aufgetaucht [MacLife]

Amazon kauft Podcast-Anbieter Wondery [amazon-watchblog]

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