MSFT Jan 2021 155.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
36.00
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 11:11AM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close36.00
Open36.00
Bid36.00
Ask36.30
Strike155.00
Expiry date2021-01-15
Day's range36.00 - 36.00
Contract rangeN/A
Volume3
Open interestN/A
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    Bloomberg

    Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion, Reuters reported, joining Facebook Inc. and other U.S. giants in betting on one of the world’s fastest-growing internet arenas.The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing anonymous sources. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti’s 300 million subscribers -- a user base akin to the entire U.S. population.American technology and investment giants have been buying stakes in Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation. Facebook agreed to invest about $5.7 billion into a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. in April, while Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering a stake in the same company.Amazon already has deep roots in India, where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has visited and vowed to build one of his biggest e-commerce operations outside of the U.S. Bezos, now the world’s richest man, said during a trip in January that his company would invest another $1 billion on top of the billions it’s shelled out to bring small and medium-size businesses online. Amazon is now vying with Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart to tap an increasingly affluent population adopting smartphones at a rapid clip.Read more: Jeff Bezos’s India Visit Marked by Probe and ProtestsAn Amazon spokeswoman in India declined to comment. “We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” a Bharti spokesperson said.An influx of capital would be welcome to New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, which has come under pressure to beef up its offerings ever since Ambani’s technology venture went on a deal spree to secure about $10 billion in investment from Facebook to KKR & Co. Airtel’s billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal may be looking to leverage the diverse businesses in his empire just as Ambani goes into overdrive to transform his oil-and-petrochemicals company into an Indian e-commerce and digital payments titan with Jio Platforms.Read more: How Facebook’s Reliance Deal Upends a $1 Trillion Digital ArenaIn its 25 years of operations, Bharti Airtel has survived frequent policy changes in one of the world’s toughest telecommunications markets. It lost its position as India’s largest wireless carrier last year to Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which debuted in 2016 and shook up the industry with free calls and cheap data. The most recent blow to Bharti Airtel came in October, when the nation’s top court in a shock ruling ordered it to pay $3 billion in back fees.The technology ambitions of Ambani, Asia’s richest man, have turned the spotlight on his telecommunications rivals, including Vodafone Idea Ltd., the struggling Indian business of British operator Vodafone Group Plc. The Financial Times reported May 28 that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in that venture. Vodafone Idea said it isn’t currently considering any such proposal.Besides telecommunications, Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises has businesses spanning insurance, real estate, education and farm food.(Updates with Amazon’s declining comment in the fifth 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.

  • Inside Microsoft’s Mission to Go Carbon Negative
    Bloomberg

    Inside Microsoft’s Mission to Go Carbon Negative

    (Bloomberg) -- Over the past four years, Lucas Joppa, Microsoft Corp.’s 37-year-old chief environmental officer, has dislocated and broken one shoulder, separated the other one, broken his right wrist, and also broken his left thumb. In early May he was pretty sure his right thumb was broken, but his hand surgeon said it was a torn ligament. It’s not that he’s clumsy or reckless—he calculates that, given the amount of time he spends on a bike or skis, his “error rate” is about 0.08%—it’s just that he has a tendency not to look before he jumps.It’s this tolerance for risk—and falling—that makes him well-suited for the unprecedented task that lies ahead. In January, Microsoft pledged to be carbon negative (removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits) by 2030 and to spend $1 billion on a climate investment fund, much of it aimed at bolstering carbon-removal tech, a nascent field with lots of big ideas but only a handful of companies that are trying it. It was a statement of intent more than a concrete plan. Right now none of this is possible. Joppa and his colleagues are all too aware they can’t wait to act until everything is certain. The fund plans to announce its first investment later this year.“I jump a lot, and sometimes I fall. It’s going to happen. You have to be willing to accept the risk,” Joppa says. The trick, he adds, is skipping the jumps that could kill him if they go wrong. “I’m bringing that approach to everything.”To avert climate disaster, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects overall global warming must be kept below 1.5C. It’s already at 1.16C. Even the previously unimaginable scenario we’re now living through—worldwide lockdowns to stop the Covid-19 pandemic—isn’t lowering the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Global warming hasn’t slowed, and Joppa and a lot of others say it probably won’t without the rapid adoption of carbon- sucking technology that barely exists.On a Thursday morning in April, Joppa logs on to his computer to address a videoconference of 16 people who will help determine how and whether Microsoft can meet one of the most ambitious carbon-reduction goals set by any company.“We’ve got a lot to do, not a lot of time to do it,” he tells the group.On the call are co-workers from his sustainability group, finance and business development officials who will consider investment opportunities, and experts in running Microsoft’s energy-guzzling global network of data centers. They’re joined by executives and climate scientists with Carbon Direct, a consulting company that will help Microsoft develop a 10-year plan for getting to carbon negative.Elizabeth Willmott, Microsoft’s carbon expert, lays out the company’s requirements to offset its emissions: It wants to buy access to a menu of carbon-removal techniques that include planting kelp forests and machines that draw carbon from the air and store it underground. It’s looking for options that are lasting and verifiable. Oh, and Joppa wants to do this on the cheap, paying companies $20 a ton, a fraction of what many of the options currently cost. It’s not because Microsoft doesn’t have the money for pricier options. Rather, one of its key goals is to force the innovation that enables prices to drop to a level others—without Microsoft’s $137.6 billion cash pile—can afford.“I often refer to our climate innovation fund as the self-awareness fund. We could just pay for this, but if you just use money to solve your problems, that represents an extreme lack of self-awareness to everybody else’s ability to do this,” Joppa tells the others on the call.Microsoft’s approach has won praise from climate scientists for its ambition. But the company also counts some of the worst emitters—oil and gas giants such as Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.—among its customers, selling them software and gear they use to increase oil and gas extractions. A May 19 Greenpeace report called out Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc. for “connections to some of the world’s dirtiest oil companies for the explicit purpose of getting more oil and gas out of the ground and onto the market faster and cheaper.”Microsoft is attempting to counter this incongruity with unproven removal ideas, says Nives Dolsak, a professor of sustainability science at the University of Washington. “Their strategy is, ‘We are banking on uncertain technology that will reduce carbon from the air, and if that works out, that allows us to put certain future additional carbon into the air,’ ” she says.Joppa has heard this criticism before. It’s the biggest complaint Microsoft gets on its climate strategy. Oil and gas companies need to be part of the climate and energy solution, he says. It doesn’t make sense to cut ties.As the company leaps headlong into its plan, among the many risks it must consider are the early and unproven technology and its high prices, Joppa says, as well as the rapid pace of climate change and the small window to arrest it. “We have got to go out and make some bets on technologies that don’t exist, on technologies that are too expensive, and on markets that aren’t mature enough,” he says. “They will never be cheap enough, they will never be scaled high enough, and they will never be mature enough unless a Microsoft comes in right now and starts pushing.”Joppa grew up in rural Wisconsin and met his wife, Jamie, in second grade. School bored him until he took a college course called Extinction of Species and then threw himself into studying ecology. After a Peace Corps stint in Malawi and a doctorate he earned in three years, he began work at Microsoft’s research arm, much to the horror of some colleagues. One professor told him, “Lucas, you could have been somebody!”During almost 11 years at Microsoft, Joppa has worked to apply computing power to the Earth’s challenges. He came up with AI for Earth in 2016, a program that grants software to companies working on environmental projects. When the company’s sustainability work became a part of Microsoft’s legal department and Joppa moved with it, his nature-themed tattoos peeking out of a T-shirt stood out among a sea of khaki and button-downs. But when Microsoft decided to name its first chief environmental officer in 2018, Joppa’s scientific background and ability to work with employees from various disciplines made him the obvious choice, says Microsoft President Brad Smith.Since 2012 the company has taxed its own business units for the carbon they emit and put the proceeds into buying carbon credits and running sustainability programs, making it one of the earlier companies to take such a step. Last spring it doubled its internal carbon tax and said it would lobby for national carbon-pricing policies.But customers kept asking Microsoft to do more, and employees were also pushing. In September rival Amazon pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040, and Microsoft felt pressure to step up its own commitment, Smith says. At a meeting in November, Joppa used dire projections from the IPCC as a way to create urgency for Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and his executive team. The world can emit only 420 more gigatons of CO2 to have a 66% chance of avoiding catastrophic warming, Joppa explained, and at the current rate that’s only a decade away.He returned with instructions to come up with a bold proposal. Along with the finance department, the team worked frenetically over the holidays on the math behind going carbon negative. “It was one thing to have the goal. It was another thing to know whether we could achieve it,” Smith says. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood committed $1 billion for an idea she’d had: the climate investment fund.Microsoft opted for an unprecedented pledge to clean up all direct and electrical emissions since its 1975 founding by 2050. Its promise to become carbon negative by 2030 includes not only direct emissions from its buildings, data centers, and fleet of campus vehicles, but also something called Scope 3 emissions. These are more indirect, harder to calculate, and far larger. It means taking responsibility for the energy that gamers use when they play Xbox video games, for example. Microsoft doesn’t count oil and gas customers’ use of its software for drilling and exploration in Scope 3.The staff who handle Microsoft’s purchases from suppliers are working on standards for those companies to measure what they emit and planning to add incentives to spur them to do better. Microsoft also plans to work with customers on how they can be greener, which includes helping oil and gas customers with clean energy programs, Joppa says.In the past couple of years, more than 40 tech companies have set targets for limiting emissions, but Microsoft’s plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and wipe out historical emissions are the most aggressive. There are only a handful of businesses that have said they’ll be carbon negative within 10 years, including furniture maker Ikea and tax software provider Intuit Inc. Panasonic Corp. says it will be carbon negative by 2050. Payments startup Stripe Inc. has begun spending $1 million a year funding negative-emissions projects.Microsoft’s investment fund is also unusual, but its goals are similar to those of a fund led by co-founder Bill Gates, who remains an adviser to the company and has met with Joppa and other Microsoft executives to share ideas. Gates is chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund with investors such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group boss Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg Green. There are ongoing conversations between Microsoft and the fund about possible partnerships on investments, says Jonah Goldman, managing director at Gates Ventures, a private investment office for Gates. Both entities share an understanding that carbon removal is a different type of investment, and it’s important to have companies like Microsoft backing technology that isn’t an obvious short-term moneymaker.After an event in January to announce their big plans, Joppa and his team celebrated with a carbon-themed playlist featuring Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire and Heat Wave by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, then got to work figuring out how to make the promises a reality.Joppa has been reading a book on the Apollo mission to put a man on the moon, and he told his wife how jealous it made him. “They had this pure thing that brought business and science and research and engineering all together, and you could just focus on it obsessively,” he says. Jamie answered: “What are you talking about? That’s what you have to do.”On the banks of Howe Sound in British Columbia, a fan the size of a delivery truck slurps carbon out of the atmosphere. It’s part of a factory run by a company called Carbon Engineering, and it’s considered one of the most promising in the field of “direct air capture,” the segment of the carbon-capture industry that sounds the most like science fiction. Gates was an early investor in the company. Basically fans, or “injectors,” connect the air with chemicals that bond with the carbon and remove it. Right now it’s highly inefficient and expensive, with prices anywhere from $250 to $1,000 a ton. Microsoft is banking on the price going down and volume going up.Another direct-air-capture startup, Climeworks AG, has its massive fans set up in Zurich, where the captured CO2 is used to grow plants in a greenhouse. Climeworks operates three plants, but they’re only removing hundreds of tons in a year. The industry is young. In fact, the three leading companies together can’t pull 1 million tons of carbon out of the air a year, while data centers of the kind Microsoft and Amazon operate are estimated to produce more than 300 times that.“Direct air capture is like the Saturn V rocket for the moonshot,” Smith says. “If someone can perfect that, it’s going to just change the equation.” Another carbon-removal technique is bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, which is basically growing plants to absorb carbon and then burning that biomass for power and sequestering the resulting emissions underground. The U.K.’s biggest power plant, in North Yorkshire, has a pilot project using the technology. It’s the first working example of BECCS, and it captures less than 1 ton of carbon dioxide a day.When it comes to machines that successfully remove carbon from the atmosphere today, that’s about it.By Microsoft’s account of its emissions, it needs to buy credits to remove about 2 million tons of CO2 next year—and 6 million by 2030, even though new emissions will be cut by more than half by then. There are other large companies interested in buying credits to offset their carbon sins, too. But there will not be enough carbon-removal tech credits for everyone to offset their emissions. In the near term, Microsoft plans to buy more natural carbon credits that go toward things such as planting trees before switching to tech. In July, Microsoft will begin to solicit bids for its carbon-removal business. Its interest, along with that of Stripe, Shopify Inc., and others, should help fuel investment in new projects, says Deepika Nagabhushan, program director for decarbonized fossil energy at the Clean Air Task Force, which is tracking some 26 potential carbon-capture projects. But it won’t make a difference overnight. “Even if Microsoft announces today that they are going to buy [a certain] number of credits from a direct-air-capture project, it’s going to take a couple of years for a project to even develop.”On Joppa’s conference call, the team from Carbon Direct reminds Microsoft that the low price will make their short-term goals harder. Julio Friedmann, Carbon Direct’s chief scientist, notes most of the available projects in BECCS and direct air capture cost many times Microsoft’s $20-a-ton budget. And other companies need to offer investment funds like Microsoft’s. “You can do a lot with a billion, but you cannot create a gigaton-scale industry with a billion dollars, no matter how smart and savvy the investments are,” Friedmann, who’s also a researcher at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says in an interview.The price is also lower than many experts have modeled for the economic damage each ton of carbon is likely to cause.But Joppa wants to use Microsoft’s purchasing power and its investments to push the price down to a level other buyers can afford. If carbon-capture tech is something only the Microsofts of the world can afford, he worries that the world will fail to contain warming. “Markets work because we make them work,” he says. They work because people put in positive incentives and help juice supply and demand. “You don’t just wish it to be so, and it happens.”Microsoft expects to make mistakes both in investments and carbon-removal choices. Willmott, the carbon expert of the group, says the company wants to be transparent about its successes and failures so others can learn from them.The coronavirus-induced shutdown has made Joppa more certain that radical action is needed quickly. CO2 emissions are down—about 8% of the estimated total for the year will never be emitted, according to the International Energy Agency. Although that’s not enough to make a dent in overall warming, the slowdown has led to cleaner air and clearer skies, and confinement has made the outdoors a welcome respite.“I hope there’s something lasting about it,” he says. “We’ve given people now an experience with a healthier planet, and I hope that’s going to be hard to take away.”There’s another risk in this whole project, of course—that time runs out. Is this plan achievable in the time we have? “It better be,” Joppa says. “I’m existentially worried about the cost of failure.” —With Emily Chasan, Leslie Kaufman, and Akshat Rathi 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.

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    Zoom's Boom Pokes Holes in the Big-Tech 'Borg' Narrative

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- One of the most feared antagonists in the “Star Trek” universe is the seemingly unstoppable alien species called the Borg. These cybernetic aliens travel the galaxy, conquering and assimilating everything in their path while greeting each new victim with the catch-phrase, “Resistance is futile.”In many ways, the prevailing narrative around Big Tech is similar to this sci-fi series villain story line. Pundits often cite how the technology giants’ vast financial resources and R&D budgets will lead to an inexorable march to control more and more of the economy. And sure, on the surface it makes sense. Apple Inc. and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. sport net cash balances of roughly $100 billion each and dominate their respective markets, generating vast profit streams from smartphones to search engines. Together with Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc. and Microsoft Corp., these behemoths also reign over the stock market with their ballooning valuations. How can any smaller company hope to compete against such power in the current difficult environment?The reality paints a much less daunting picture. It turns out that the Covid-19 era has led to an explosion of innovation and rapid growth for dozens of smaller technology companies. Many of these upstarts — from video-conferencing software maker Zoom Video Communications Inc. to cloud-computing firm Datadog Inc. — are emphatically winning even as the tech giants try to squash them. And they’re doing it in many cases by simply making a better product and having a laser focus on it. There’s a flaw in the concept that Big Tech can easily expand into new markets by leveraging the power of their core businesses. The reason is all companies – big or small – have finite top-tier engineering talent. And of course, companies tend to put their best people on their most important profit-making segments, versus any peripheral new markets, opening the door for the upstart specialists to thrive.Earlier this year, I wrote how  corporations were flocking to software vendors such as Zoom for solutions on how to get the job done at a time when their employees were forced to work from home amid lockdown restrictions. Since then, Big Tech has taken particular aim at the software company as they sought to push their own video-conferencing tools. Last month, Google added a large, blue-colored “Add Google Meet video conferencing” button any time a Google Calendar user tries to add an appointment, while its Gmail accounts with its billion-plus user base also conspicuously have Google Meet in the lower left corner at all times. Microsoft, meantime, has sought to capitalize on early security concerns with Zoom to promote its Teams product. Despite the aggressive moves, you couldn’t see any negative impact in Zoom’s results. Late Tuesday, the upstart posted April-quarter sales results that crushed Wall Street estimates. The company posted first-quarter revenue of $328 million, up 169% from a year earlier, versus the $203 million Bloomberg consensus. It also projected a sales range of $495 million to  $500 million for the current quarter, more than double the $222 million analyst estimate. Zoom shares climbed 5% on Wednesday, adding to year-to-date gains that already topped 200%.That’s just Zoom. There are plethora of cloud software names — including monitoring analytics provider Datadog and user authentication company Okta, Inc. — that are also seeing surging demand for their services and the soaring stock prices to match. These companies are building out comprehensive offerings and stronger leadership positions in their respective categories that will be harder to displace as they grow in stature. And it’s still early innings on the growth curve for many of these firms. The move to cloud-computing is a seminal paradigm shift similar in scope to the transition to mobile smartphones nearly a decade ago. Gartner said the world-wide enterprise technology market was $3.7 trillion last  year. Even if the economy contracts, it will be a large market, with lots of room for fast-growing companies to make meaningful share gains as spending shifts toward new technologies. “The trends of digital transformation and cloud migration remain very much intact over the long term and may even be accelerated or amplified,” Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel said during his May earning call with investors. Another recent example of Big Tech’s failure is Amazon.com Inc.’s foray into gaming. After years of development, the e-commerce giant released its first big-budget video game “Crucible” last month to much fanfare, even advertising the title on the front page of its website. It was meant to be the Amazon’s beachhead into the large attractive gaming market. It didn’t go well. To illustrate,  just a couple weeks after its launch “Crucible” has precipitously fallen in the Twitch charts, a key indicator of gamer engagement, to roughly 100 viewers or barely in the top 500 titles. It turned out to be a complete flop, even as Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite remains a fan favorite.Despite the worries over Big Tech’s growing dominance, the flip side may actually be the bigger risk. Last month, I wrote how other retailers appear to be taking advantage of Amazon’s service troubles to make incursions, which has allowed them to grow their e-commerce businesses at triple-digit rates. In social media, the short-video platform TikTok has also surged in popularity. Last week, Bloomberg News reported TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd.’s revenue for last year more than doubled to more than $17 billion from $7.4 billion in 2018, a level of sales nearly triple that of Twitter Inc. and Snap Inc. combined. Incredibly, if TikTok continues it current growth trajectory, it has the potential to surpass some of Facebook’s key platforms within a few years. And speaking of Facebook, its latest big push into e-commerce space, Facebook Shops, relies in great deal on a partnership with online-store software maker Shopify Inc. and its extensive array of commerce tools for small businesses.History shows the tech industry’s reputation for disruption is unmatched. And if it is any guide, investors  shouldn’t overlook or underestimate the industry’s up-and-comers, even in — or should I say especially in — times like these. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 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.

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    The increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence and 5G technology are threatening to drive up energy consumption, putting the technology sector on par with the aviation industry in the amount of CO-2 it releases, according to a leading researcher at Gartner. While data centers, tasked with processing the world’s data, have made significant investments to reduce energy consumption over the last several years, David Cappuccio, Gartner VP of Research, says that dynamic is likely to shift dramatically with the growing use of analytics and machine learning.  

  • Zoom Transforms Hype Into Huge Jump in Sales, Customers
    Bloomberg

    Zoom Transforms Hype Into Huge Jump in Sales, Customers

    (Bloomberg) -- Zoom Video Communications Inc. demonstrated that paying customers have flocked to its virtual-meeting software, transforming the once-niche appmaker into a popular communications service and positioning it to benefit as the nature of work, school and life is upended.Zoom reported sales soared in the three months ended April 30, when the coronavirus pandemic spurred a wave of stay-at-home orders for millions of people worldwide. The company expects the trend to continue the rest of the year, and projected that revenue and profit will leapfrog investors’ earlier expectations.“A shift in work culture triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic urges corporations to pull forward adoption of cloud-based video-conferencing tools,” Boyoung Kim, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote Tuesday in a note. Zoom’s “intuitive technology and strong brand recognition should help the company pick up market share in video conferencing, outpacing the industry.”Sales in the current quarter will be as much as $500 million, the San Jose, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Revenue in the third and fourth fiscal quarters should be consistent with that performance, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said during a conference call. Overall, Zoom expects to generate as much as $1.8 billion this fiscal year, which is almost triple the size of the business last year. Analysts, on average, estimated $930.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Zoom’s shares jumped 6.6% to $221.80 at 11:44 a.m. Wednesday in New York after closing at a record $208.08 on Tuesday. The stock has tripled this year.Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan has tried to ensure that his virtual-meeting platform can cope with a swell of demand from people staying home to curtail the spread of Covid-19. While security and privacy issues plagued the system early in the quarantine, Zoom has become an essential service, attracting more than 300 million participants some days, up from 10 million in December. The software maker allows gatherings of as long as 40 minutes for no charge. While Zoom has attracted more buzz than corporate rivals, the results Tuesday suggested it can attract the paying clients needed to compete against services from Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.The software maker said its potential market has expanded beyond an estimate of $43 billion by 2022 made by analyst IDC, according to a 2019 regulatory filing. And executives said they have expanded hiring plans to take advantage of the opportunity. While Steckelberg warned that the lifting of stay-at-home orders may cause fewer people to use Zoom’s software, the company said it hadn’t seen the numbers decline yet in areas that have reopened.Many educational institutions that teach through Zoom have decided to host virtual classes through at least the fall, pointing to robust demand for the app through the rest of the year. To continue growing at a torrid pace, Zoom will sell its Phone software and Rooms hardware products to existing customers, Steckelberg added. Yuan vowed not to rely on advertising to make money from its legions of free users.In the fiscal first quarter, revenue increased about 170% to $328.2 million. Analysts, on average, expected $203 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 20 cents a share, compared with analysts’ average projection of 9 cents.The company said its expects adjusted profit in the fiscal year will be $355 million to $380 million, or $1.21 to $1.29 a share. Analysts had estimated 46 cents, just more than Zoom’s earlier forecast. The company has been spending to bolster its network capacity, including by buying cloud-computing services from Oracle Corp. during the pandemic. Zoom also continues to use Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud service, which provided the majority of the new capacity.Zoom’s daily meeting participants have dipped a bit below the blockbuster 300 million figure revealed in April, but Steckelberg said the company expects to consistently surpass that milestone in the future.The company said it ended the quarter with about 265,400 customers with more than 10 employees, a more than fourfold increase from the same period a year earlier. The company now has 769 corporate clients that have spent more than $100,000 on Zoom’s products over the last 12 months, about double from a year earlier.With Zoom’s popularity has come controversy over the company’s security practices. Trolls have invaded myriad meetings, religious gatherings and other events, to share pornography and shout profanity or racial epithets, in a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing.” The company highlighted or created a raft of tools users can employ to prevent the virtual attacks, including passwords and waiting rooms.There also were instances when Zoom calls were routed through servers in China even when no participant was based there and users were unwittingly sending metadata to Facebook Inc. when they signed in. Zoom put an end to both practices. The company pledged to commit to bolstering privacy over all other concerns for three months, purchasing a secure-messaging company, Keybase, to bring the highest standard of encryption to the platform, and hiring cybersecurity experts to guide safety efforts.Corporate clients will get access to Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won’t enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications.“Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” Yuan said on the call.(Updates with shares in the fifth 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.

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