Zoom plans a move into email and digital calendars

Zoom is set to diversify into email and digital calendars in an attempt to challenge larger rivals that have sought to dent the video conferencing group’s ubiquity for remote workers.

As competitors build up their own video chat services, Zoom is working to broaden its offering. Both Google and Microsoft offer users a suite of online tools, including email and diary services, as well conferencing platforms.

Zoom could announce the expansion as soon as November, according to The Information, a technology news website, which cited a source with knowledge of the plans and reported that the new services — dubbed “Zmail” and “Zcal” by some staff within Zoom — had been in development for almost two years. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Zoom Video Communications, founded in 2011 and based in San Jose, California, runs one of the world’s biggest video conferencing software platforms. Demand for Zoom surged at the onset of the pandemic, when daily users surged from ten million in December 2019 to 300 million in 2020.

While its shares rose rapidly after the introduction of Covid-19 lockdowns and the widespread prevalence of remote working for previously office-based companies across the world, they fell back sharply as restrictions were eased and vaccines were distributed.

Shares in Zoom closed up 0.9 per cent, or $0.73, at $79.59 in New York last night. They finished February 2020 at $105 and peaked at $568.34 in October 2020. It is valued at almost $24 billion on the stock market.

As employers sought to encourage office staff back to their desks, executives at Zoom have tried to preserve the platform’s relevance. While the pandemic magnified its brand, use of the company’s services has dropped. Facing competition from Teams and Slack, acquired by Salesforce in a $27.7 billion deal last summer, Zoom has been building up its chat and meeting scheduling services. Last month Zoom cut its annual profit and revenue guidance and forecast that its online business would decline by between 7 per cent and 8 per cent.

Kelly Steckelberg, 53, chief financial officer, said: “Zoom remains focused on building out our platform, leading in the hybrid work world, enhancing the customer experience and expanding into more and more business workflows. We will continue to make strategic moves to drive future growth.”