- Margin Call
Bloomberg, the financial data giant, is offering customers of its signature terminal a way to use its chat function as a stand-alone feature for just $10 a month.
The offering, first reported by the Financial Times, undercuts Symphony, a chat and data startup once touted as a “Bloomberg killer” because of its low-cost offering and backing from Wall Street’s biggest firms.
Offering customers a standalone chat feature internal communications is a change of tactic for Bloomberg, which typically offers its news, data and trading functions in one bundle – for more than $20,000 a year.
Bloomberg’s chat function, though, is ubiquitous on Wall Street as a tool that allows traders to exchange information. Unbundling it from the rest of the terminal is a way to keep business from employees who don’t need the full package, and could be particularly appealing for folks away from the trading floor in support functions in the middle and back office.
“This is a standalone product that services the internal communications needs of our clients,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told Business Insider.
That new feature presents a direct threat to Symphony, which charges $20 per month for its services, according to Spencer Mindlin of Aite Group, a research company.
“It is a competitive threat because it offers a lot of the value proposition that Symphony offers,” Mindlin said.
Many of Symphony’s backers, including Goldman Sachs, got behind the company to put pressure on the monopoly of Bloomberg. Hence, the nickname “Bloomberg killer.”
The company’s CEO, however, has tried to present the company as a tool for any business – comparing it to Slack, and Microsoft’s O365, chat apps.
Symphony has partnered with a whole host of data and news providers, including Dow Jones, IHS Markit and Thomson Reuters. Deutsche Bank on Wednesday said it would “put over 150,000 lines of code from its award-winning electronic platform Autobahn into the public domain,” and integrate the code into Symphony.
In May, Symphony said it raised $63 million funds, which brought the total amount the company has raised to $234 million. It counts Google, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, and a number of other Wall Street firms as its backers. The company is valued at more than $1 billion.