|Bid||38.45 x 1400|
|Ask||38.47 x 2200|
|Day's range||37.87 - 38.86|
|52-week range||32.40 - 58.26|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.20|
|PE ratio (TTM)||14.95|
|Earnings date||12 May 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.44 (3.66%)|
|Ex-dividend date||01 Apr 2020|
|1y target est||48.14|
The coronavirus crisis has caused panicked investors to look everywhere for shelter, including extremely expensive stocks such as Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ticker: ZM). But while there has been a surge in usage of the service, the stock could plummet as investors seek out companies with steady cash flow in months ahead. That's according to […]
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The coronavirus is changing the way we work. As more governments implement stricter shelter-in-place orders, corporations and their employees are scrambling to figure out how to conduct business operations in a work-at-home world. First, new hardware is required. Sales of monitors, webcams and laptops are soaring as people build out their home offices. But that’s the easy part.The bigger issue is how to enable similar levels of productivity without the many brief conversations and in-person meetings during a typical day at the office. To accomplish this, companies are increasingly turning to a handful upstarts in the aptly named workforce collaboration software category. These are the tools, initially designed for use in an office, which the world has now discovered work so well when trying to stay connected remotely, from video conferencing to electronic messaging platforms. And as they gain traction in the home workspace, it seems more and more likely they’ll stick once we’re all back in the office again, accelerating a trend toward greater usage that was happening anyway.Three tools that particularly stand out come from Zoom Video Communications Inc., Slack Technologies, Inc. and Smartsheet Inc. What these companies have in common is they are upstarts, their products are arguably best-in-class for what they do and they’ve all seen their shares jump amid the widening coronavirus crisis.As recently as a couple months ago, the companies faced challenges in trying to raise awareness for their offerings. Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems, Inc. have much larger marketing budgets and deeper relationships with Fortune 500 tech buyers. Well that is less of a problem now. The need to just get work done has become a showcase opportunity for the best-of-breed software vendors to break through the noise and put some distance between their products and the tech-industry goliaths’ less-capable offerings.Zoom is further along in the brand-awareness process. By now, everyone knows how the company is thriving as the video-conferencing pure play of choice. Earlier this month, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said on a call, “Given this coronavirus, I think that overnight almost every business really understands they needed a tool like this. This will dramatically change the landscape.” Last week, Bernstein’s survey of 516 working adults revealed Zoom’s momentum continues to rise. Based on an analysis of responses, the data implied Zoom’s boost in usage among knowledge workers was more than double, versus any other vendor since the coronavirus crisis began. Zoom’s success will have ramifications for when the crisis ends too. As businesses get acclimated to using inexpensive, high-quality videoconferencing, executives may realize the prior level of travel spend simply isn’t worth the cost.Smartsheet is also flourishing in the moment. The company makes software that automates business processes and workflows without requiring technical programming skills. For example, it can replace the manual data entry into Excel spreadsheets by using automatically updated web-enabled forms, improving accuracy and productivity. Earlier this month, the company posted 58% quarterly billings growth for its fiscal fourth quarter and said it wasn’t seeing a negative impact from the coronavirus.And then there’s Slack. The messaging platform has seen a surge in demand for its service, and as a hard-core user myself, I can vouch for how Slack has improved communications with colleagues inside and outside the office. Compared to email, it enables a faster form of iterative communication, similar to a back-and-forth real-life discussion with a co-worker, saving time and increasing understanding. Perhaps even more important, the software offers a searchable repository of conversations, documents and files that enables an efficient knowledge transfer to other team members.Many companies have started realizing Slack’s utility in recent weeks. Late Wednesday — in a now-epic tweet thread chronicling the explosion in demand for Slack and pressures on the company to meet it — CEO Butterfield revealed updated growth metrics for the current quarter, and they were jaw-dropping. In about two months, Slack had acquired 9,000 new paid customers, a figure 80% higher than the roughly 5,000 in each of the prior two quarters. Average messages sent per day per user were also up 20%.Slack shares rose 10% Thursday as investors cheered the improving metrics, and have largely held that gain since. It’s important to note that even after these gains, Slack is trading only a few dollars above its $26-a-share initial direct-listing price in June 2019, and for much of its time as a public company has traded below that level. Moreover, there is no guarantee the rising usage will translate into a permanent customer base; there will be some users, perhaps, who drop the service when things are working more normally. And there may be major corporate layoffs and losses from economic shocks that could make larger enterprise deals more difficult to close. Butterfield himself is aware of this, saying Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television that the company’s current pace of growth “is just not sustainable … We would have the whole world on it in a couple of months if we kept going.”But as workers form new ingrained habits using these tools, they will become that much harder to give up. This points to better sustainable results for Zoom, Slack and Smartsheet over time.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- With its 175-acre campus in Cupertino, California, and several dozen more offices across the rest of the world, Apple Inc. wasn’t designed as a work-at-home company. That all changed about three weeks ago in the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in March, Apple shuttered many facets of its Apple Park and older Infinite Loop campuses as San Francisco Bay Area officials put in place stay-at-home orders. Later, the company told employees that specific approval is needed to gain access to an office, but identification badges remain functional. The shift from office culture to remote work has been challenging for the hardware-focused company with a passion for secrecy. In the past, Apple has gone to great lengths to keep its new products shielded from the public until the company is ready to unveil them. Employees work behind secure doors with blacked-out windows, lock products in cabinets and are barred from discussing their assignments even with spouses. Now, working from home, some are finding it hard to adjust and there have been minor hardware development setbacks, according to Apple employees who asked not to be named talking about company matters.The majority of Apple’s hardware products are engineered at Apple Park or surrounding buildings in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. For some work that requires hands-on development, some hardware engineers in Silicon Valley are allowed into the office, the people said. Apple also has hardware engineers in San Diego, California, and global coronavirus hotspots like Italy, Germany and Asia. But the company’s restrictions in those regions are far stronger. Apple has extended its remote work policy until at least April 5, depending on an office’s location. In a notice to staff, Apple said that “whether you’re working at home or at the office, it’s always critical to keep confidential work confidential. While working remotely, use the same care and always securely store confidential items and documents when not in use.”Still, Apple hasn’t paused its efforts to build future devices. The company is working on new versions of the HomePod speaker, Apple TV set-top box, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch and iMac for as early as later this year. The next round of flagship iPhones are targeting release in their normal fall window, Bloomberg News recently reported.Bay Area counties announced Monday they were extending stay-at-home orders until May 1, meaning these restrictions will be in place for at least another month, a key period when Apple finalizes products for later this year and next year.Read more: Apple’s Supply Chain Woes Linger Even as China Recovers“Apple has struck the balance between recognizing that much of the world runs on their products and that they need to keep them functioning and advancing, and they are balancing that with employee safety,” said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and co-founder of Loup Ventures. “They are reminding us with these small products they’ve recently announced that they’re going to keep working.”In early March, in a contrast to its normal practices, Apple started allowing engineers to take home early versions of future devices to continue work during the lockdown period. Previously, the company allowed select employees to take home nearly complete devices such as iPhones for real world testing. Typically, Apple is a company built on in-person meetings. Designers, for example, gather around kitchen-like tables to dream up future products. Hardware experts engineer and test devices together — things that simply are either more difficult or impossible over the internet.Taking home a future product requires the green light from the vice president of an employee’s organization. That list of staff with future devices at their homes also is sometimes reviewed by Apple’s senior vice presidents, the management team run by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. As part of the work-from-home order, Apple has clamped down on which employees are allowed to take home future versions of software, including the next release of iOS, the platform that runs the iPhone and iPad. Like with hardware, employees working on unreleased software, such as the upcoming iOS 14, require approval from the highest levels of the organization, the people said. Some Apple software engineers have privately complained about the difficulties of working from home, including distractions and concern about the on-going health crisis. But Apple’s software releases for later this year are currently on track and the company said it will announce the new versions in June at an online version of its annual developer conference. Meetings have continued by phone and video conferencing. Apple requires employees to communicate via its own FaceTime service, Slack Technologies Inc.’s app and Cisco Systems Inc.’s Jabber or WebEx in order to maintain secrecy. For file sharing, Apple limits working to its suite of productivity apps, Salesforce.com Inc.’s Quip and Box. As part of its shift to working at home, Apple has also sent employees tips on ergonomic work setups, offered to reimburse staff for purchases of desks and computer monitors and has published responses to workers’ concerns about Covid-19. Apple shut all 458 of its stores outside of mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong earlier this month, and the company is holding store employee meetings, known as “Daily Downloads” virtually and on a less regular basis. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of people and retail, has also been sending employees messages recorded from her home. Last week, she told employees that some workers and their family members were ill with Covid-19. She also re-iterated that stores would reopen on a case by case basis depending on local conditions possibly as soon as the first half of April.To lighten the mood in an otherwise traumatic period, Apple started a contest for employees to share photos of their work from home setup. The last guideline reads: “If you’re working on anything confidential, please keep it out of the shot.” (Updates with area stay-at-home order extended until May 1 in the seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Today we'll look at Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Work-from-home neophytes are providing some much needed moments of levity right now. The Italian priest livestreaming mass with cat’s ears and whiskers accidentally superimposed on his head. The woman who failed to switch her camera off when she took a bathroom break during a conference call. Children and pets generally making a nuisance of themselves. Even if staged, they warrant a chuckle.The laughter, however, doesn’t resolve the difficulties that many are experiencing as millions more people head into self-isolation and log on from home. For all of the telecommunications operators’ assertions that their networks can cope with the peak loads, there are still things you can do to reduce the likelihood of dropped calls or spotty connections. More than that, the small changes you make can lessen the load on telecoms networks more broadly.Britain’s regulator Ofcom on Tuesday proffered advice on how best to stay connected during Covid-19 self-isolation. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but top of the list was using your landline or Wi-Fi when possible, rather than a mobile connection. Because most of the top video-calling apps are made by U.S. firms, they’re built for users with ready access to high-speed mobile connections, since unlimited data plans are more common there than in Europe or Asia, according to Nick McQuire, head of enterprise research at market intelligence firm CCS Insight.He says the app conferencing companies have neglected the issue of bandwidth optimization in general. As rising numbers of people use video calls — not just for work, but family visits with the grandparents, third-grade art class and virtual happy hours — those problems risk being highlighted. That’s one reason why Ofcom is encouraging the use of landlines. Spikes in network usage mean operators are having to lean on more and more servers to manage the load than usual, Italian data from network analysis firm Tutela Technologies Ltd. show.In the age of Covid-19, video conferencing is an important channel for maintaining social contact, but some products are easier on the network than others. Stuck at home like many others in London, I carried out a series of tests to see how much data each of the most popular apps required for the same calls, as scientifically as I could given the circumstances. On average, Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s eponymous service and Google Inc.’s Hangouts used more than twice as much data as Apple Inc.’s FaceTime or Cisco Systems Inc.’s Webex.To use FaceTime, though, the participants all need an Apple device — not a given when a top-of-the-range iPhone starts at $1,000. And Webex isn’t exactly easy to use, as my girlfriend grumbled while she helped me test: “The setup for this is definitely the worst.” With Zoom, the data requirements dropped significantly when we tried it around 5 p.m., when usage seems to peak — it appeared to throttle its needs as network capacity became limited.At times it might actually be better to use the mobile network instead of Wi-Fi, according to data from Tutela. Since Italy went into full lockdown on March 12th, the mobile network has on average provided a better quality of service(1) until about 2 p.m., after which Wi-Fi connections have given a more reliable connection. That differs by country, of course, but the trend elsewhere is similar. On March 24th, the first day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined stricter self-isolation measures, the U.K.’s mobile networks provided better service until about 9 a.m., after which the Wi-Fi was again more reliable.It’s not all about work, of course. There’s been a massive leap in the demands imposed on the network by online gaming. In the week from March 9th, gaming data usage jumped 75% in the U.S., Verizon Communications Inc. said last week. It’s far better to avoid network gaming if you can. And if you plan to park the kids in front of one or more films during the day, think about downloading them overnight rather than streaming them real time.Netflix Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are already reducing their streaming services’ bandwidth consumption in Europe to alleviate the load on the region’s networks. Using video conferencing smartly could not only make your calls more reliable, but also preempt any limitations being imposed on that technology.And for goodness sake, if you’re on a conference call and not talking, make sure you mute yourself. You know who you are.(1) Tutela considers the test to pass the Excellent Consistent Quality thresholds if it meets all the following criteria: 5 Mbps or greater download speed 1.5 Mbps or greater upload speed 50ms or less one-way latency 30ms or less jitter 1% or less packet lossThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of gear that directs internet traffic, said its Webex collaboration service is experiencing a staggering jump in use as companies look to find a way to securely connect workers confined to their homes.Webex daily meeting volume has more than doubled since the beginning of March and expanded 2 1/2 times from February. At peak hours, volume is up 24 times where it would be normally, the company said.Cisco’s conferencing business is the biggest provider of such services to companies with revenue many times the size of newer rivals such as Zoom Video Communications Inc. Demand for these services from home-bound employees during the Covid-19 pandemic indicates that work practices will probably change permanently, said Sri Srinivasan, who heads the company’s collaboration unit.“We will never go back,” he said. “The way we work is going to change forever. Employers are going to be able to hire workers from wider geographic areas because staff won’t have to come to the office as much, he added.While dropped connections and delays getting into meetings has increased, so far Cisco’s technology has just about kept up with the volume, Srinivasan said. The company was able to learn from the steep increase in traffic in Asia early this year and apply those lessons to the U.S., where volume is still increasing.The peak volume for traffic is at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Internally, Cisco has started a process scheduling calls to begin outside of standard times -- not the top of the hour or 30 minutes past the hour -- and is recommending users do the same.Webex opened a free sign-up and service in response to the virus outbreak that drew 240,000 new subscriptions in the first 24-hour period, the company said. That program mirrors the growth by Zoom, which offers a time-limited free service for its multiparty conference calls and a paid service. Srinivasan said Cisco’s data policies are stricter than Zoom’s, meaning important work that needs to remain private will continue to take place on its system.Cisco no longer breaks out the performance of its collaboration division. The last time it did, revenue was about $4 billion in fiscal year 2015. Since then, the company has frequently cited the unit’s growth as being one of the fastest among its businesses. Zoom is on course for annual sales of about $890 million in calender 2020, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.At the same time the explosion in traffic is helping collaboration providers make better products much more quickly. Cisco uses artificial intelligence to analyze what’s happening on Webex and increasingly to enhance elements such as call-center software. The company typically deals with 39 billion events (logins, calls, videos initiated, messages sent, etc.) per day on its systems. Last week that number increased to 270 billion a day and is still rising.Regardless of competitive dynamics, Srinivasan said it’s more important that all the services remain stable and continue to improve in order to help with the effort to stop the spread of the virus.(Company corrected the number of new subscriptions in the seventh paragraph of story published March 23.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With so many people forced to work from home, companies like Microsoft and Slack are seeing millions of more users accessing their video and chat apps.
Those expecting the U.S. economy to bounce back hard and quick after the worst of the coronavirus may want to think again. Yahoo Finance speaks with former Cisco CEO John Chambers about the crisis.
TEL AVIV/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As people disperse to their homes to work and study because of the coronavirus pandemic, taking their laptops and company data with them, cyber security experts say hackers will follow, seeking to take advantage and infiltrate corporations. At Cisco Systems Inc, for example, the number of requests for security support to support remote workforces have jumped 10-fold in the last few weeks. "People who have never worked from home before are trying to do it and they are trying to do it at scale," said Wendy Nather, a senior advisor with Cisco’s Duo Security who has spent the past decade working from home for various jobs.