April 27, 2020

Everybody’s coming after Zoom now

The Zoom clones are multiplying, but Zoom Exhaustion is setting in.

First they love you, then they hate you, then they want to be you.

That’s been the story of the last 2 months for Zoom, which went from a bit player in our work lives to a starring actor in the world’s leading docu-drama, “Quarantine: The Neverending Story.” (We do NOT want to see the sequel.)

Zoom’s got some new competition

The software’s eye-popping rise would make any Silicon Valley investor green with envy, even in spite of its security woes and the fact that Zoom Exhaustion is practically an official medical diagnosis.

In December, Zoom had just 10m users. The company said last week that it recently surpassed 300m. Its stock price has jumped 130% this year, and the company is valued at $47B — more than Slack and Pinterest, according to The New York Times.

CEOs at other big tech companies are scrambling to play catch up, by gobbling up competitors or launching their own Zoom clones:

  • On Friday, Facebook said it was crashing the meeting. Its new Messenger Rooms service will let users video conference with 50 people at a time.
  • Verizon recently bought BlueJeans, a Zoom competitor, for less than $500m.
  • Google’s been beefing up Meet, its own video call service, launching a grid-style view, noise cancellation, and other in-demand features.

Alas, they may be too late: the Times reported on an extremely cringe-y moment when Google’s chief business officer held a Meet-ing with thousands of employees — only for his son to burst into the background to ask whether he was using Zoom. And to say how much he liked it.

Welcome to the Zoom Industrial Complex

Here’s another sign that Zoom is the hottest thing on the market: Other startups are piggybacking on its success (if that’s not the ultimate compliment, what is?).

Protocol reported on Zoom-based startups like Grain and Fireflies, which let users capture important meeting moments, and Stream, which lets musicians, fitness instructors, and other content creators stage paid Zoom events.

Just when we thought we’d seen them all, The Guardian reported on one of the most unusual Zoom hacks yet: the Silent Zoom.

The idea? Recreate the no-fooling-around feeling of a library. There’s nothing better than a roomful of muted strangers to hold you accountable to your work goals.

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