- The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent rise of remote work has led to dramatically increased demand for apps that enable collaboration and communication.
- The biggest beneficiary has been Zoom, which has seen its user base balloon to 300 million, thanks to a combination of business users and regular people using it for non-work purposes.
- Slack and Microsoft Teams have also seen a big boost.
- Here are four graphs that help illustrate just how much of a boom each company has seen.
The rise in remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to huge gains for cloud software apps that help people collaborate and stay connected.
Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have all seen massive spikes in users in a very short span of time.
Video conference tool Zoom has received the most unprecedented publicity. It’s evolved from being a platform aimed at businesses to a household name, as consumers use it for happy hours, online classes, Passover celebrations, yoga instruction, and so much more.
Microsoft Teams and Slack have also seen increased usage, as businesses seek out moe ways for their employees to continue working without being in the office.
“With the rise of COVID-19, the at-home economy, and social distancing, people are trying to find ways to continue to engage on multiple platforms,” Futurum Research analyst Dan Newman told Business Insider.
Here are four graphs that help illustrate just how big of boom each company has received:
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Zoom’s added 100 million daily active users in less than a month, to a grand total of 300 million as of April 21.
Zoom said it had 300 million free and paid users on its app every day as of April 21. That’s 100 million more users since it released coronavirus-related users metrics for the first time in March.
To put that into context: Zoom only had 10 million users at the end of December.
Early on in the crisis, Zoom lifted the 40 minute time limit on its free product for users in China, and made the tool free for K-12 schools in over 20 countries, as many had to rapidly shift to online learning. Its new user base also includes many consumers using it for social activities.
In order to keep up with the rapid growth, Zoom had to quickly grow its infrastructure by investing in more data centers and cloud computing power.
While that makes it more expensive to run the business, CEO Eric Yuan told Business Insider that both Amazon Web Services and Oracle proactively gave Zoom a discount on more server capacity — so it could scale without breaking the bank.
As Zoom’s popularity has swelled, so too has its stock price.
Zoom’s stock price has soared almost 150% since the beginning of the year.
While the stock briefly fell at the beginning of April due to questions about Zoom’s privacy and security, it rebounded and reached an all-time high of $169 on April 23, one day after the company announced 300 million daily active users.
It’s now well above its IPO price of $36, though experts wonder whether the new valuation is sustainable for Zoom.
Microsoft Teams added 12 million users in a single week in March, soaring to 44 million total daily active users.
Microsoft Teams, which combines chat, video, and document collaboration into one tool, has also seen a big spike in usage amid the increase in remote work.
Microsoft’s software dominates the workplace and Teams comes bundled in with the rest of the Office 365 suite of productivity tools, and its recent surge shows that many businesses decided to turn on the dormant tool when faced with the necessity.
“I think that the moment that companies were put in a position where they had to make a decision, they decided, ‘This is going to be our collaboration platform, this going to be how we meet when we no longer go to meetings,'” Newman said. “IT leaders and business leaders trust Microsoft.”
Microsoft plans to release a consumer version of its productivity suite, including Teams, so it will be seen whether the product catches on with non-business users like Zoom has.
In the meantime, 183,000 school districts in 175 countries were using Teams for Education, as of a Microsoft blog post on April 9, and the company said it tracked 2.7 billion meeting minutes in Teams in a single day on March 31. That was up from 900 million minutes a day earlier in March.
Slack added 9,000 paid customers halfway through its first quarter, almost as many as it added in its two previous quarters combined.
Slack has also seen a massive usage growth around the world.
When Slack reported earnings in mid-March it said it had seen a “significant spike” in usage, as the pandemic forced people to work remotely. A few weeks later, Slack gave some metrics to show what it meant: Between the beginning of February and the end of March, it added 9,000 new paid customers, almost as many as it added in its previous two quarters combined.
CEO Stewart Butterfield said its hard to tell now much of this growth is sustainable, given how uncertain the economy right now.
“Some of our customers will inevitably go bankrupt, there will be layoffs, and some customers will shrink,” he said during an analyst call in March. “I don’t think we’ve got the super computers that can tell us how the world will look three months from now and that’s where the uncertainty comes from.”
However, he’s confident that this recent boost will help Slack’s business in the long term.
One looming question: how much more intense will the competition between all three productivity software vendors become?
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