The new coronavirus crisis has created an increase in the use of many online communication platforms, including Microsoft Skype and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB). Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) has also seen a massive influx of users as people try to connect online for business and personal reasons. Zoom’s rapid growth has also revealed serious privacy and security concerns, as CEO Eric Yuan wrote a blog article earlier this week to address these concerns. He noted that the platform reached 200 million participants in daily meetings last month.
Zoom had recently conceded that it was not sure that it could convert many new users, who use the free version of the service, into paying customers. Facebook now wants to take a bite out of the Zoom boom.
Ungrouping Messenger on the desktop
Facebook released a desktop app for Messenger, its flagship messaging service in the United States, this week.The new standalone app supports free and unlimited group video calling, syncs across mobile and desktop platforms. , and makes the service more accessible. Historically, desktop users had to access Messenger in a web browser after logging into Facebook.
The tech giant noted that last month saw a “more than 100% increase” in computer audio and video calls to Messenger. Facebook last week warned that its advertising activity was affected and that the total number of messages in the countries hard hit by COVID-19 had jumped by more than 50%, voice and video calls having more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp .
It should also be noted that the interface of the new Messenger application is almost identical to Appleit is (NASDAQ: AAPL) iMessage on Mac. In 2018, CEO Mark Zuckerberg even went so far as to say that Apple is by far the “ Facebook’s biggest competitor ” when it comes to messaging, especially in markets where the iPhone has a strong position (like in the USA). By essentially unlinking Messenger and making it more convenient to access, Facebook takes a photo of both Zoom and Apple.
However, Facebook faces the same challenge as Zoom in actually monetizing this commitment. Facebook has never really effectively monetized Messenger, other than half the efforts over the years to insert ads into the platform. Yuan said that Zoom was not worried about monetization because “this is not our goal” during the crisis. Zoom is just trying to connect people in the middle of a chaotic and unprecedented period. Apple monetizes iMessage by selling iPhones, as well as digital content within the messaging platform.
In a regulatory brief this week, Zoom also revealed that Yuan had donated 300,000 Zoom shares to a charitable fund advised by a donor. (Yuan will also benefit from a large tax deduction, since stock donations are valued at the time of donation and Zoom shares have almost doubled since the start of the year.)