In the last few months, as Covid spread around the world, people everywhere started using Zoom as their new go-to communication tool for schooling, socialising, and working from home. Accordingly, as Covid impacted has escalated, so has Zoom’s market cap.
Zoom has seen user numbers soar in ways no one could have predicted. Rapidly going from relative obscurity outside of B-2-B circles, to a market cap of US$44 billion – making it worth more than Ford, Mitsubishi, or Manulife. Giving it an unimaginable PE ratio of 1,865x – for comparison, FB’s is 23x, Google’s is 21x.
In the rush to meet demand, Zoom has been caught unprepared by a raft of security and privacy issues, from user-data being sent to FB, to wrongly claiming the app had end-to-end encryption, and more. Resulting in several high-profile Zoom bans, including the US Congress, NYC schools, and tech giant Google, due to security concerns. In response, Zoom said it was making plans to handle the problems within 90 days (a self-imposed deadline that’s coming soon), and ceased adding new features in the meantime.
WHEN WILL THE PARTY BE OVER FOR ZOOM?
Things got worse as multiple issues piled up, and at their peak, had driven the company’s share price down 20%. Zoom was also slapped with a major suit when its iOS app was found to have shared data with FB, even when users didn’t have an FB account. Add to that a class action suit by shareholders, claiming they lost money when the company overstated security measures, and you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering not if, but when the party may be over for Zoom?
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?
- In response, Zoom doubled down on its efforts in recent week, including a promise to improve encryption by changing its default settings to prevent intruders from accessing Zoom calls without permission (aka: Zoombombing).
- But is Zoom facing its own (potentially fatal) case of techlash at the precise moment it’s both most promising, and most vulnerable? Without knowing it a few months ago, the company was perfectly placed to take advantage of the Covid crisis. Making the huge leap from B-2-B obscurity, to B-2-C brand-recognition worldwide – all in record time.
But at what cost?
RAISING MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
The first of which, given recent events is, how big is the cushion of consumer goodwill Zoom can fall back on? And for how long? Since not knowing how long the world will be on lockdown brings up the biggest questions of all: