Zoom is gearing up for perhaps its biggest expansion yet: The company is gearing up to launch messaging and calendar apps, Information reported, and could do so before the end of this year. This would transform Zoom, which has already evolved from a video chat platform to a competitor to Slack and whiteboard apps and even your desk phone, into a full-fledged competitor to Google Workspace and Microsoft Office.
Getting into other work apps would seem like a departure for Zoom, but it makes sense for the company to pursue them. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has long said he’d rather be a partner to other work tools than replace them, but as Zoom’s platform ambitions grew, so did the desire for it. ‘business to own more work ecosystem has increased.
Calendar and email are also widely used as scheduling tools, which means Zoom could integrate more deeply with businesses that already use it. And on the other hand, Google and Microsoft are trying to reduce the zoom: Google Calendar’s Meet button seems to get bigger every day, and these companies are betting that their default status will eventually win.
Zoom was able to grow so quickly over the past few years by being additive: it was better on video than anything in those sequels, so people embraced it in droves. Now, Teams and Meet are both solid products. And with companies in the industry tightening spending, Zoom may start to seem superfluous for some budgets. So, in essence, Zoom has two choices: dig deeper into how businesses operate or risk being taken out altogether. Surely he saw what happened to Slack and is trying to avoid the same fate.
But if Zoom wants to take on not just Teams and Meet, but Office and Workspace as a whole, it’ll have to be ready for a long and costly fight. Google, even with its suite of wildly popular free tools like Gmail and Google Docs, has spent years stealing market share from Microsoft and still does so in small pieces. Few companies can afford to join the fight, let alone carve out a real market share.
That’s not to say Zoom couldn’t have some cool new ideas in these spaces, by the way. There’s been an explosion of exciting new calendar apps recently, from companies like Calendly, Daybridge, and Cron. They brought new ideas to the email space last year, and Superhuman continues to be highly regarded in tech circles, although most users would probably say email is in dire need of a boost. innovative focus. It’s hard to know if Zoom is the right company to do this – it would certainly be the most original thing Zoom has tried in recent years.
But that begs the question: what does Zoom really want to be? For a time, it seemed to become the underlying video infrastructure of the internet, powering everything from lectures to yoga classes. Now, thanks to web standards like WebRTC, quality video is easier and cheaper than ever. Zoom therefore seems to be becoming a working tool again – and, if it succeeds, a tool that is used for much more than video.