Zoom has announced a major change in how customers are able to purchase and set up its software offerings in what could signify a sea-change for users around the world.
The hugely popular video conferencing firm has said it will no longer carry out direct sales of its products to users in some markets, and instead switch to a partner-only model.
The move is thought to only affect the company's home nation of China for now, but could have big ramifications for the thousands of businesses across the world who have come to rely on Zoom throughout the global lockdown.
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“Dear Customers, thank you for choosing our services. We wish to inform you that we will be selling services in Mainland China only through our partners. If you have a need for online video conferencing, you may reach out to our partners,” Zoom said in a post on its Chinese website.
The changes will come into force on August 23, and will affect both new and upgraded products across mainland China. Zoom had halted online subscriptions to customers several months ago, with the company looking to streamline its business model.
“In the past, our go-to-market model in China has included direct sales, online subscription, and sales through partners," a letter seen by CNBC said. “We are now shifting to a partner-only model with Zoom technology embedded in partner offerings, which will provide you better local support.”
“Users in Mainland China may continue to join Zoom meetings as participants,” a Zoom spokesperson added.
It's not known if the move will be replicated in other markets soon, but Zoom has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity across the world as businesses embrace a new remote working model under lockdown.
Zoom had come under scrutiny for several high-profile security incidents, and earlier this year apologised for supposedly accidentally routing some meetings through Chinese servers. This step-down prompted a significant overhauling of the company's routing processes, with Zoom promising continued security research and development.
The news comes shortly after the company launched Zoom Hardware as a Service (HaaS), partnering with a number of third-party hardware manufacturers for its Zoom Phone and Zoom Rooms HaaS offerings.
According to Zoom's website, Zoom Phone plans are priced between $5.99 and $60 per month based on which device users opt for while the cost for Zoom Rooms hardware plans will range from $75 to $200 per month.
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