Can Apps Like Microsoft Teams, Slackr, be the next Zoom?
Months before COVID-19 pandemic hit earth on a global scale, video conferencing sites and apps were used occasionally to connect with near and dear and sometimes to attend a conference remotely in case you called in sick. But now, the same apps and sites are lifelines to conduct online classes, connect with employees, and hold regular business meetings and so on.
Video conference app, Zoom which was not heard of before, catapulted in becoming a household name.
This Tuesday, the teleconferencing company, reported its first-quarter results that were impressive on almost every measure. Zoom, which had revenue of US$10 million per day, saw a massive surge by 169 percent generating US$328 million in the three months to the end of April. The company’s share price rose by 152% compared with past year, and its market value has risen from $19bn to $58bn since the start of 2020. This prompted the company to double revenue guidance for the current year.
But things grew downhill when Zoom faced a huge backlash after a string of security and privacy failings surfaced online in previous months. These included sending user data to Facebook, routing traffic to China, less secure E2EE encryption for video calls and allowing “Zoombombing”, when uninvited guests joined video calls session. These bombers left disruptive comments or share disruptive media using Zoom’s screen-share feature. Other issues were about its installer that took over admin privileges to gain root access to a user’s computer.
That access could be abused to surreptitiously install programs without the user’s knowledge, including the ability to access a user’s webcam and microphone.
Yet Zoom continues to enjoy popular choice among user worldwide. However, things took a change when other companies started using other video-conferencing apps, especially Microsoft Teams, and Slack. When eminent personalities like Elon Musk and organizations like New York City’s education department, Standard Chartered bank asked employees not to use Zoom owing to its sketchy reputation, Microsoft and Facebook seized the moment to launch and promote their features.
Post the launch of a video-conferencing version of Microsoft Teams by Microsoft in March, Messenger Rooms by Facebook and Google Meet by Google, Zoom faced a dip in its market share and revenue.
Meanwhile, Slack which received a growth of 350 percent in calls In March, launched a new app to integrate Microsoft Teams calling features into its chat app in April. Along with this, it also allowed VoIP phone integration with Zoom, Cisco Jabber, RingCentral, and Dialpad. This shall enable Slack users to use these VoIP calling providers to call phone numbers directly within the Slack interface.
By March 31st, Microsoft hit a daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes and 1000 percent of the growth in video calls. As per an article on the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is making sure this opportunity is not taken away from them, hence is leaving no stone unturned to push Teams. Recently it expanded the gallery view so users can see up to 49 participants on a call, just like Zoom. Yet it is still far from dethroning Zoom, for which it shall need to have better functionality and be fast. So, only time will say if we can see any other video-conferencing app beat Zoom in the race to be market leader. And if they can maintain their demand post COVID-19.