Remote working apps surge amid coronavirus spread

Remote working apps surge amid coronavirus spread
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Remote working software is seeing a surge in use as the spread of coronavirus moves many jobs and classes online.

Microsoft's Teams chat and conferencing app has gained more than 12 million daily users in the last seven days alone, a spokesperson for the company told The Hill on Thursday.

Teams now has 44 million daily users that have produced 900 million meeting and calling minutes each day of the week.


"It’s very clear that enabling remote work is more important than ever, and that it will continue to have lasting value beyond the COVID-19 outbreak," Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

"We are committed to building the tools that help organizations, teams, and individuals stay productive and connected even when they need to work apart."

Remote conference service Zoom has also seen an uptick in usage as coronavirus has spread.

While the company declined to provide The Hill with specific figures on usage rates, it pointed to commentary from CEO Eric Yuan during a conference call on fourth quarter earnings earlier this month.

“With the reliability of our high-quality video platform, we have seen a large increase in the number of free users, meeting minutes and new video use cases," Yuan said at the time, before many American companies had moved to work from home policies.

Movement in the stock market also suggests that Zoom is growing in popularity: While the S&P 500 is down roughly 20 percent so far this year, Zoom's shares have jumped more than 70 percent.


Workplace messaging service Slack has also reported a surge in use.

The company's CEO, Stewart Butterfield, told the Financial Times that the app has seen a net increase of 7,000 paying customers since the beginning of February, or 40 percent more than it normally has in a full quarter.

Online work software has been a growing industry for years, and that growth seems to have been accelerated as more Americans follow mandatory and self-imposed quarantines due to the coronavirus.