How tech companies are benefiting from people staying in | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 17, 2020

How tech companies are benefiting from people staying in

With one-third of the world’s population in home quarantine, the use of internet-based services & entertainment is soaring rapidly. While we are on the brink of a global recession, some digitized companies are actually benefiting by coming up with new ways to keep customers engaged. Across multiple entertain and productivity platforms, we explore what these companies are and how they are keeping their businesses striving.

Zoom downloaded more than 50 million times

Zoom Video Communications Inc. provides a software-based video conference, web conference services, online meetings, group messaging in a singular platform. As concerns over covid-19 upsurges, Zoom is exploding with popularity by ensuring a platform to conduct meetings, online classes & digital communication to the world. Wall Street firm Bernstein Research evaluates that Zoom has already brought in new active users due to the pandemic. Zoom officials observed this rapid change in their user directory and actively engaged with it. According to a stock market report, it was valued at $15 billion last year(debut)which has now risen to an estimate of $38.5 billion. The shares in Zoom are worth almost double increasing by 101% since January 31,2020. A report from March 26 shows that, it had been downloaded more than 50 million times on the Google app store alone as the global pandemic enforced people to work from their homes. It was named as the top free app on Apple's App Store. The number of active users spiked from 10 million last December to 200 million in April 11th,2020 while simultaneously being ranked as the number two and number one app in the UK and US, respectively.

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As part of public service, they already lifted its 40-minute time limit for callers hosting an online meeting for paid users. Zoom's CEO Eric Yuan said that he wanted to make a contribution to help those affected by the virus. Additionally, Zoom has lifted some of their subscription on online collaboration services to help businesses that aren't adjusting well.

But with all the growth in their business, there are certain complaints raised against them by various users. According to Intercept, Zoom doesn't offer end to end encryption. This means that the data shared through zoom is not entirely secured. The company has focused much less on its privacy and security and it is surprising because the British PM was seen to use their application. Reports about data leaking, iffy encryption and zoom bombing (malicious practice of gate-crashing meetings) have been numerous. Various people have complained about such privacy concerns where a large chunk of new users were victims of security lapses. Despite its greater job in connecting business, academia and government all around the world, zoom must make amends for the faulty security concerns if it wants to hold on to its sudden boom in its own business. More of this in last week's issue.

Slack gets 78 percent jump in revenue and competition from Microsoft

Slack is one of the most renowned applications used for workplace messaging. It's professional and faster than email and people already use it. But the pandemic has raised its stakes to a soaring level. If we look at various data clusters, we can decipher how slack reached 12.5 million connected users for the first time in its history as of Wednesday, March 18th and its spike continues to grow. Slack's growth has surpassed all that it earned in the last two quarters of 2019. In quarter 3 and 4 of 2019, it only accounted for 5000 new customers while it has already risen to 9000 over the past few weeks. In response to this, Butterfield, founder of SLACK tweeted '"It felt like the shift from inboxes to channels which we believed to be inevitable over 5-7 years just got fast-forwarded by 18 months. Good for our business.' All of these led the company's stock to rise by 13 % with a 78% jump in revenue causing a spark increase in net income. Butterfield also tweeted about how this pandemic made people spend more time in Slack causing average number of messages sent per user per day go up 20%, and average active usage has surged past one billion minutes each weekday. Slack has already taken some steps to help during these trying times of the pandemic by providing "free upgrades to paid plans" for teams working on coronavirus pandemic research. It has also bought in a lot of new upgrades which helps you toggle between new conversations and being more user friendly overall. The numerous updates suggest that slack employees have been working tirelessly which Butterfield reaffirms in his further tweets. However, there had been severe doubts about whether the computing infrastructure of slack has enough capacity to handle the increasing usage. But the biggest concern for Slack is that its rival company Microsoft Corp.'s digital-collaboration tool Teams has already taken in as many users as them amid this corona outbreak. Therefore, Slack is facing a challenge not only to keep existing customers but also holding on to new customers. One of the users claim that 'Teams' has a lot more interesting feature than slack which might seem lucrative. If slack wants to maintain their current level of consistency, they have to find a way to keep their customers using slack.

Netflix chills with 7 million new subscribers in 2020 to reach 167 million

People who have been searching for leisure to watch all their unfinished Netflix shows have their prayers finally answered. And this has undoubtedly benefited Netflix as their subscribers keep on increasing. Netflix under the index NASDAQ of the stock market has already added 7 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 along with a total subscriber base of 167 million. It also topped all other streaming charts as the most dependable entertainment portal amidst the lock down. Analyst Michael Olson of Piper Sandler found out that the subscriber base of Netflix is in an increasing trend of 3.8% user per year in the U.S.-Canada region while the data predicts that in case of international subscribers, the growth might be 30.9% in comparison to the prior-year quarter.

After one of the Netflix employees found to be tested positive for corona virus, they have taken drastic actions to empty their buildings in response to about 1000 employees being at risk of being affected who are now working from home. While an estimated number of 120,000 film industry workers have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis, Netflix has decided to recuperate for them by announcing $100 million relief fund for cast and crew members working on studio productions. Among them, 15 million will be donated to non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in different countries. The biggest worry of Netflix however lies on its basic model of business. As people seem to be running out jobs, they will soon be unable to pay the monthly subscription which will lead them to look for cheaper options in its competitors. If the pandemic persists and creates a huge difference in the purchasing power of the customers, Netflix might have to find a new way to tackle its competitors who offers a much lower rate for subscription.

Dropbox shares grow 7.8 percent

Dropbox, Inc. provides a user-friendly platform to store files, videos, photos and data spreadsheets. The present work culture heavily aligns with the feature's Dropbox provides which is why it's user base boosted even further along with addition of Dropbox Spaces, Paper and Extensions. During this pandemic, its shares have gained a 7.8% increase due to the massive demand created for the lockdown. Dropbox Business announced subscriptions for a 3-month period to non-profits/ NGOs that are fighting COVID-19 and schools/educators who are in need of support.

Life will not feel the same while you are in quarantine. But this is the best time to make use of the wide range of resources that the internet has to offer. Stay safe. Stay productive.

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