The rise of Zoom shows competition is far from ‘dead’ in tech

“Let’s Zoom!” Imagine a work colleague’s awkward response if you enthusiastically proposed this last December. Just five months ago, the video conferencing software was not widely known. Now its name has become a popular verb for video conferencing and its market capitalization of more than $71 billion as of yesterday makes it more valuable than the seven largest airlines in the world combined.  

How is this wild success possible? We’ve repeatedly been told that “competition is dead” and that the big tech platforms will crush new innovators. Sen. Elizabeth Warren asserts that “to promote competition, and to ensure the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.” Sen. Josh Hawley, her GOP colleague, similarly believes that large tech companies stifle “competition that might bring truly new and rewarding innovation.” Journalists, policymakers and other politicians likewise argue that large technology companies lack serious competition from other businesses and earn exorbitant profits while leaving users unhappy. 

However, amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 virus, the online communication and social media sectors appear vibrant, competitive and innovative.

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Neil Chilson

Senior Research Fellow for Technology and Innovation

Charles Koch Institute


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