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Google reportedly mulled acquiring Zoom once but downplayed it finally

Google Cloud engineers were also evaluating a lot of other options that were like Zoom.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | May 5, 2020 | Updated 18:32 IST

Highlights

  • Zoom was reportedly one of the options for Google to acquire.
  • But Google has said those were not serious discussions.
  • Microsoft also tried to repeatedly acquire Zoom last year.

Zoom is unarguably popular now, thanks to how personal and professional communications have changed over a past few coronavirus-impacted months. But before Zoom's sudden turn of fate, it was known among big corporates and used for their internal communications. Google was too one of those organisations that would use Zoom despite having a pile of its own communications and video conferencing apps. Inside Google, the Cloud engineers were so impressed by Zoom that they reportedly wanted to acquire the video meeting app late in 2018.

According to a report by The Information, citing a person who worked with Google Cloud earlier, the popularity of Zoom among Google Cloud employees was so intense, it prompted them to mull acquiring the video conferencing app. The level of the proposal reached a point where Google began to consider the "reasonable price" for Zoom. The engineers also began to chalk out how Zoom's service will run on Google servers if the acquisition is successful. Zoom was one of many companies that Google Cloud engineers evaluated to acquire. But the discussions could not go too far, as per the report.

A Google spokesperson has, however, downplayed the acquisition pitch Cloud engineers had ready for Zoom. According to the spokesperson, the acquisition was never "seriously evaluated" by Google Cloud engineers and that the use of Zoom was not agreed to for large-scale among the company employees. There was a recent falling-out between the two companies when one too many privacy and security loopholes in Zoom's platform started to emerge, causing Google to ban its use for employees.

To counter Zoom, Google has made changes to its Hangouts Meets app. It is now called Meets and is available for Gmail users worldwide for video conferencing. Google is said to be adding nearly 3 million users daily on Meets, which is a 30 times increase in usage since January. As of the recent data shared by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Meets has 100 million participants using the platform on a daily basis. Meets was paid earlier and available for G Suite users only, but Google has made the app free in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Zoom, on the other hand, has multiple subscription plans, including a free one with the least number of features.

Interestingly, Google was not the only bigwig considering to acquire Zoom. A Recode report last year said Microsoft repeatedly tried to acquire Zoom "over the years". But, to Microsoft' dismay, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan rebuffed the offers from Microsoft, saying he was not interested in selling the video conferencing platform to the Satya Nadella-led company. But Microsoft has its own collaboration app called Teams, which saw a monumental surge in adoption during the coronavirus-induced lockdown globally. Microsoft Teams now has 75 million daily active users while over 200 million meeting participants were active on a single day, amounting to a total of 4.1 billion minutes of meetings.

Zoom also outed the numbers of how its service has attracted several users within a short time. It said the platform has over 300 million daily active users globally. But Zoom did not take to backtrack and correct its statistics to say there are 300 million daily meeting participants on the platform. Previously, Zoom had misstated its privacy policy that led to the confusion about end-to-end encryption for video meetings.

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