Teleconference major Zoom Video Communications is now valued more than the combined market capitalisation of US Inc's so-called blue-eyed boys American Airlines, Expedia and Hilton.
As of April 8 closing, Zoom had a market cap of $31.73 billion, while the combined value of Hilton ($18.26 billion), American Airlines ($7.91 billion) and Expedia ($ 4.35 billion) stood at $30.52 billion.
With large numbers of people in a lockdown or facing some kind of restriction of movement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for teleconference has skyrocketed as companies around the world go online to stay connected while practising social distancing.
Zoom's teleconference services are being widely used for education, telehealth and have even spread into personal space through weddings and “zoom parties”.
On the other hand, aviation and hospitality have been among the hardest-hit sectors. The value of Hilton has declined by almost half from $31 billion in January. American Airlines and Expedia have dropped $4 billion and $7 billion in market cap, as of April 3.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
At the same time, Zoom's value has almost doubled since the beginning of the year.
Despite the rapid strides Zoom is making, it recently came under the scanner for privacy concerns, after a number of reports emerged of “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding” where hackers joined meetings that weren’t meant for them.
Zoom has since allowed users to password-protect their calls, though it is not enabled by default.
TechCrunch recently said that some reports claimed that Zoom video calls were not end-to-end encrypted, despite the company’s claims.
TechCrunch also quoted another article that said Zoom was leaking the email addresses of “at least a few thousand” people because personal addresses were treated as if they belonged to the same company.