September 2, 2020
Image: Visuals / Barta IV / Protocol
Welcome to Protocol Cloud, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about the week in cloud and enterprise software. This week: how Zoom plans to capitalize on its incredible fortunes, why edge computing is worth a look, and why it's a bad idea to delete virtual machines from your ex-employer's AWS account.
Also, please join me for Protocol's upcoming virtual cloud event, State of the Cloud, on Sept. 10. We plan to discuss how the pandemic accelerated demand for the cloud, why "lift and shift" is the wrong way to think about migration, and how companies should think about shiny new technologies promised by eager vendors.
Very few public company CEOs get to preside over an earnings call like the one Zoom CEO Eric Yuan hosted on Monday. More impressively, it was his second victory lap of the year already.
Zoom reported incredible growth with revenue of $655.5 million, up an incredible 355% in its fiscal second quarter compared to the same period in 2019. Even with six months of hard data and anecdotal evidence that Zoom is the driving force behind the work-from-home and remote education strategies of the pandemic, analysts still expected the company to post just $500 million in revenue.
So how's the company planning to meet continued demand? During its earnings call, company executives dropped a few hints about its plans for the future.
Zoom's also looking to widen its purview, and is increasingly looking at big-dollar customers who want to replace their old legacy phone-network communications systems with Zoom Phone, Yuan said.
And its plan for holding onto customers that saw it as a lifeline in a time of great stress? New features that put Zoom in closer competition with workplace hub software like Slack, Microsoft Teams or G Suite.
Zoom expects sequential growth to moderate over the second half of the year, but those numbers will still look incredible compared to 2019. 2020 will always be remembered as a special year, and Zoom's endurance as a tech vendor will really be tested as the world begins to return to normal in 2021.
Join us on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. PT / noon ET for a deep-dive conversation on the state of the cloud. Join Tom Krazit as we explore how best practices for cloud computing are evolving during an unprecedented economic period, with a panel of experts who can help you make use of this historic shift in infrastructure technology. Speakers to be announced. This event is presented by Pure Storage.
Edge hedge: Earlier this week I hosted a virtual panel discussion featuring four edge computing experts — Simon Crosby of Swim.ai, Rob High of IBM, Nancy Li of Cox Communications, and Farah Papaioannou of Edgeworx — to discuss the reasons why this emerging technology is interesting for real-time applications or companies that need to run applications in far-flung parts of the world. Check out the video here.
Dorm norms: U.S. colleges and universities are looking at an extended period of remote learning during the first semester of the new academic year, and that's likely to continue well into 2021. Protocol's Mike Murphy chatted with 2U co-founder and CEO Chip Paucek about why educators can't just stick students in front of a Zoom connection and hope for the best.
Tiring hiring: Remember the first day of a new job, when you'd file into a conference room with the other new hires to fill out tax forms and pretend to read the company handbook? Those days aren't coming back for quite some time but companies still need to bring on new hires, and here's a look at how Charles Schwab scrambled to get new employees up and running during a pandemic.
Thanks for reading — see you next week.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the relationship between AWS and Zoom. AWS is a vendor to Zoom, not a customer of it. Updated Sept. 2.