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Use of Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom skyrockets with coronavirus

Use of Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom skyrockets with coronavirus 1

Zoom saw its usage skyrocket, reaching 300 million daily meeting participants in April.

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Zoom said it had 300 million free and paid meeting participants on its app every day as of April 21. 

That is tremendous growth from when it first released coronavirus-related users metrics in March, and to put that into context: Zoom only had 10 million daily meeting participants at the end of December.

However, there has been some confusion over Zoom’s metrics.

In a recent blog post, Zoom said that it had 300 million daily active users (DAUs)— but then later edited the post to say that the number referred to the number of Zoom meeting participants. The distinction: While the DAU metric measures discrete, individual users, a single person joining five Zoom meetings in a day would count as five meeting participants. 

“In a blog post on April 22, we unintentionally referred to these participants as ‘users’ and ‘people.’ When we realized this error, we adjusted the wording to ‘participants.’ This was a genuine oversight on our part,” a Zoom spokesperson said.

The confusion goes back further, though. When Zoom released metrics in March, it used the “daily meeting participant” language as well. The figure was widely reported in outlets including Business Insider as Zoom claiming to have 200 million daily active users, rather than meeting participants. It remains unclear why Zoom never corrected the record. 

Regardless, what is clear is that the numbers do show that usage of Zoom has grown tremendously during the pandemic. For comparison, rival Microsoft Teams said it reached 200 million meeting participants in a single day in April — closing in behind Zoom.

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.

Oracle was actually a customer before Zoom turned to it for the added capacity it needed to sustain its business. 

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