Zoom's 15 minutes are just about up
Also: It's April Fool's Day: Are you 🗓 or ❌?
Today should have been a celebration for Zoom Video Communications: use of the company’s product hit a record 4.84 million users this week, overtaking numbers for rivals Microsoft Teams and media darling Slack. Shares of the company’s stock (ZM), which debuted last year at $36, closed on Tuesday at $146; and the company’s market cap more than doubled since late January.
Instead, the company is under broad attack for deceptive product claims, lax security, deceptive data policies, shady installations, and myriad and sundry other actionable offenses (and they don’t seem to be ending).
The response to the revelations has been swift and severe:
New York’s Attorney General sent a letter questioning the company’s security practices
The FBI warned schools and businesses against using the service and launched an investigation into episodes involving pornography being shown to schoolchildren participating in online classes
Two lawsuits now seek substantial damages — a privacy suit citing the company’s failure to protect user data, and a class-action suit damning the company’s unauthorized sale of data to Facebook (which the company now admits)
Not surprisingly, the company’s stock is sliding, and its founder is issuing public mea culpas in an attempt to slow the damage. Many point to the forensic work of the creator of Ruby on Rails — who’s also the Basecamp founder and CTO — for the speed of the blowback, with this thread in particular appearing to trigger the stock slide.
He remains non-plussed:
Meanwhile, TechCrunch and others are writing epitaphs…
Just days after announcing a pullback from funding facial recognition startups, Microsoft is hailing new legislation in Washington State that “for the first time puts guardrails in place for the use of facial recognition technology”
MEDIA & TELECOM:
The Sprint/T-Mobile merger is complete (and here’s a look back at the saga)
A new report vouches for TikTok’s wild growth
Podcast audiences are plunging:
Senators pressed Google’s Verily unit on how the company will protect user data collected via its Covid19 web site. The questions follow separate letters two weeks ago to Google and the Trump administration on the issue
Major drug makers are under pressure to share patents to combat Covid19
The reckoning: Moody’s cuts outlook on $6.6 trillion U.S. corporate debt pile to ‘negative’ … See also: More than $340 billion in new bank loans went to corporations in one week last month — that’s twice the volume of an average year
Morgan Stanley sees the U.S. deficit reaching $3.7 trillion or more in calender 2020, and says it will add an additional $3 trillion in 2021. If the economy shrinks this year, that means the fiscal deficit could approach 15% to 20% of the overall economy
Huawei’s new phone includes parts from U.S. manufacturers, despite its blacklisting by the U.S. government … See also: Huawei Technologies chairman threatens retaliation from Beijing if the U.S. cuts off Huawei’s access to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world’s largest contract chip maker
Smart folks are offering early thoughts on how Covid19 will reshape cities … See also: The U.S. president just called for a massive infrastructure spending bill:
And finally… Add the Girl Scouts to organizations who’ve relented about online sales amid Covid19 restrictions: