The news was first reported by The Information (subscription required) today:
Facebook is nearing a commercial launch of Facebook at Work, its business-focused social network, and now plans to charge companies based on the number of employees who use the service monthly, a Facebook executive said. That’s a change from Facebook’s earlier plans to offer the software for free but to charge companies based on additional services they use.
In an interview, Julien Codorniou, director of Facebook at Work, said the decision to charge an amount “per monthly active user” was based on Facebook’s confidence that the product “would get employees engaged.” Mr. Codorniou declined to say how much Facebook would charge companies.
We’d covered the news of Facebook at Work’s imminent launch last month, and the service has been offered to select companies on an invite-only basis for the past several months. Starting sometime in October, however, FB will open up the service for all businesses.
Facebook will reportedly also allow integrations of other popular productivity platforms into the new Work service. There’s no word yet on exactly what services it will support, but similar platforms typically allow CRM products like Salesforce.com to integrate into their platforms.
Facebook at Work could wind up being a serious problem for Slack, a popular privately-held work messaging platform with a multi-billion dollar valuation. Nearly every user of Facebook at Work will already be familiar with how it works, aside from the new Work-specific functions. If Work can compete with Slack’s low price of $6.67 per active user, and deliver similar or better value, it’ll be a no-brainer for thousands of companies to jump ship to Facebook.
Facebook shares rose $1.35 (+1.06%) to $128.66 in Tuesday afternoon trading.