Lockdowns have pushed social activities onto online meeting platforms.
If Zoom has become the overwhelming choice of users looking to meet virtually during an unprecedented period of self-isolation, it’s partly a tribute to the vision of its founder, Eric Yuan, a Chinese engineer who moved to the US determined to succeed in a web-communications field dominated by giants like Google and Microsoft.
“Eric worked extremely hard to build his company,” says Jim Lundy, founder, CEO and lead analyst at Aragon Research. “He has been on a mission and he started Zoom with almost nothing. You can say that Zoom became what it is because of his drive, zeal and desire to do better.”
Lundy knew Yuan when Yuan worked at Cisco WebEx, one of the leaders in unified communications and collaboration, which Aragon projects will be worth $67 billion by 2023.
After managing the WebEx engineering team for 14 years, Yuan decided in 2011 to build a seamless platform to run on multiple devices. Last year, Zoom became one of the rare profitable tech unicorns to go public, with a valuation of $9.2 billion in its initial public offering.
Zoom says it went from 10 million daily active users in December to 200 million in March, including over 90,000 schools.
“We haven’t found any vendor that has benefited as much as Zoom from the virus outbreak, as Zoom has been number one in Apple’s App Store downloads since mid-March by a large margin versus all other vendors, including Teams, Slack, Hangouts, etc.,” says Zane Chrane, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Other platforms in the ecosystem of web-collaboration vendors have also enjoyed a surge. “Almost every vendor we pulled has seen almost a doubling or tripling of their number of meetings,” says Lundy, which indicates that during the pandemic, users have turned to multiple platforms. Microsoft Teams users, for example, are significantly more likely to turn to other tools including Zoom, Slack and Smartsheet, according to Bernstein research.
Lundy, who called Zoom a “hot vendor” early in 2015, says BlueJeans is another player to watch. Aragon Research Globe, Aragon Research’s market evaluation tool, tags Pexip, Highfive and Avaya as emerging innovators.