Zoom continues to skyrocket past all expectations nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic helped its business shoot through the roof. And the company’s optimistic guidance seems to suggest that concerns of future slows may not be so big after all.
The company reported its fourth-quarter earnings on Monday, posting $882.5 million in revenue, up 369% year over year. That, by far, beat analysts’ expectations of $811.7 million in revenue for the quarter.
Zoom also reported that it expects to generate between $900 million and $905 million in revenue for the first quarter, well above analysts’ expectation of $804.78 million. The higher-than-expected guidance sent Zoom’s stock up more than 10% to $452 per share in after-hours trading.
The latest results wrap up a year of outperforming Wall Street’s expectations. Meanwhile, the company has been diversifying its revenue, reporting that its phone service, which allows people to make, receive, and route phone calls via the cloud, now serves more than 1 million users.
Zoom still appears to be the one to beat in video conferencing. On Monday, Zoom was the third top free app on the Google Play store and the sixth top free app on the Apple app store. The app has regularly snagged high rankings on both app stores throughout the year.
But other companies are still trying to give Zoom a run for its money. On Monday, for example, Google announced some new features including a new mobile view and the ability to join a meeting from multiple devices for its video conferencing service Google Meet. Meanwhile, Instagram debuted a live-streaming feature that has a Zoom-like appearance called Live Rooms, 10 months after Facebook’s Messenger rolled out its video conferencing product Messenger Rooms.
While Zoom’s leadership seems to ward off any suggestion of a major slowdown in the near future, you may wonder just how long Zoom’s big boom will last.
Some companies are already warning of possible decelerations as the COVID situation improves. For example, DoorDash, another company whose business was boosted by the pandemic, last week told investors that its food delivery service may slow in the next couple of quarters as more people get vaccinated and opt to eat out.
But Zoom may not experience the same kind of post-pandemic pressure. That’s because many companies have decided to allow their employees to work from home permanently or part-time. And Zoom has had several months to change consumer behavior, increasing people’s familiarity and dependency on its software—habits could well outlive the pandemic.
The issue boils down to this: Will you be Zooming post-pandemic? Because Zoom is betting on it.
One, two, five strikes you're out. Twitter on Monday said it started labeling tweets that contain misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine. It also rolled out a five-strike system for users who repeatedly violate its COVID-19 misinformation policy. A user who gets one strike gets a pass, but two strikes and beyond lead to various suspensions. Five or more strikes will lead to a permanent suspension. Twitter's playing hardball now, just with a softer set of rules.
Amazon’s alleged corporate discrimination. Charlotte Newman, a Black, female Amazon employee, alleges that the company discriminates against Black and female workers applying for corporate positions, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday. The lawsuit claims that Amazon allegedly hires people of color at lower levels than their white counterparts, and also promotes people of color less often, despite their qualifications. Not good, Amazon. Not good at all.
Transphobia on TikTok. Transgender TikTok users claim that the social media app is rife with transphobia and harassment and that the service’s “For You” recommendations page often drives hate to their videos, according to Insider. Half a dozen TikTokers said that more often than not, the hate they receive comes from communities they never intended to reach in the first place. TikTok has become increasingly popular among the LGBTQ+ community. And though the company, owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, has rules against harassment and hate, the problem persists.
Politics, lies, and nicotine? YouTube has suspended Rudy Giuliani … again. In videos on his channel, the attorney who tried to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election reportedly repeated lies that the election was stolen. He also reportedly promoted nicotine somewhere in the mix, according to Bloomberg. That resulted in the violation of two policies and ultimately landed Giuliani with a two week suspension—his second this year.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Apple iOS has long been lauded for its security measures that keep users and their data safe from hackers and data leaks. But a new story from MIT Tech Review suggests that in the rare cases that hackers successfully break into their systems, Apple's security inadvertently ends up protecting them, too. Bill Marczak, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, explains the issue to Tech Review.
“He argues that while the iPhone’s security is getting tighter as Apple invests millions to raise the wall, the best hackers have their own millions to buy or develop zero-click exploits that let them take over iPhones invisibly. These allow attackers to burrow into the restricted parts of the phone without ever giving the target any indication of having been compromised. And once they’re that deep inside, the security becomes a barrier that keeps investigators from spotting or understanding nefarious behavior—to the point where Marczak suspects they’re missing all but a small fraction of attacks because they cannot see behind the curtain,” Patrick Howell O’Neill writes.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Why deepfake creators love Tom Cruise By Jeremy Kahn
GameStop won’t stop Robinhood from launching its IPO bid By Rey Mashayeki and Anne Sraders
Big Short investor says Bitcoin is in a ‘speculative bubble’ By Chris Morris
Instagram’s new streaming feature looks a lot like Zoom By Danielle Abril
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BEFORE YOU GO
Most conversations about deepfakes focus on the dangers of videos manipulated by artificial intelligence. But MyHeritage, a DNA-testing company, is using the technology to do something that's arguably quite positive: It's bringing people’s ancestors to life.
The tool, called Deep Nostalgia, takes old photos uploaded by users and animates the people in them, resulting in a short video in which the subject might smile or look around. The animated photos are quite convincing, and the public reaction has ranged anywhere between touched and totally creeped out. What do you think?