With the coronavirus outbreak forcing many workers to communicate through digital means, the popularity of apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams pretty much exploded over the past few months. However, Zoom isn't the only company competing in the video conferencing space, as Google has already jumped in to announce that Google Meet is now free for everyone with a Google account.
If Google has already started opening its video conferencing app to all users starting this week, a new report from The Information reveals today that Google once considered acquiring Zoom before making a push to beat it. The report reveals that Google had cordial relations with Zoom to the extent that thousands of Google employees preferred Zoom over Google Meet. Notably, some Google Cloud engineers even started discussing Zoom's acquisition plans back in 2018.
"They went so far as to evaluate what would be a reasonable price to pay and calculated the unit economics for the service if it ran on Google’s servers, according to a person who has worked at Google Cloud. Zoom was one of several companies the Google engineers evaluated in this way, said the former Google Cloud employee. The internal discussions didn’t get very far," the report reads.
A Google Cloud spokesperson told The Information that Google has now stopped its employees from using Zoom since the desktop application doesn't meet Google’s security standards. However, the security team recommended its employees should either use Zoom on a browser or mobile phones (if they need to).
It is noteworthy that Google isn't the only company that was interested in an acquisition. Over the past couple of years, Microsoft made several attempts to acquire Zoom. However, Recode has previously reported that "the talks never grew serious". In fact, the founder of Zoom, Eric Yuan has been repeatedly declining the offers, since he's not interested in the idea of selling the company.
In response to these reports, a Google Cloud spokesperson stated "the company has never seriously evaluated acquiring Zoom” and there has never been a “large-scale agreement” for Google employees to use Zoom." On the other hand, Zoom declined to comment on this matter.