Zoom’s surging free user base dents margins as cloud costs rise

(Reuters) — Zoom warned on Monday its gross margins would remain under pressure going into 2021 as the surging number of free users of its video conferencing service makes it hard to offset a spike in costs to maintain its growth.

Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts.

Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle, meaning it must bear costs for free users.

Those bills, driven in part by a jump in free users in the third quarter as millions of students and teachers started new school semesters, pushed down Zoom’s gross profit margins to 66.7%, below analysts’

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Tech elites are making moves out of San Francisco as they rethink the area’s costs, political climate, and safety

Hello everyone! Welcome to this weekly roundup of Business Insider stories from co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

Read on for more on the future of Silicon Valley, a private-equity titan’s relationship with a Texas investor embroiled in a political scandal, and the rise and fall of the world’s oldest advertising agency.

map: Samantha Lee/Business Insider

© Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Samantha Lee/Business Insider



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Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of shoes and clothes retailer Zappos, has died at age 46 following injuries sustained in a fire. 

Hsieh (pronounced shay) retired from Zappos in August after 20 years with the company, staying on long after he sold the company to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009. He was widely known for his efforts to regenerate the downtown Las Vegas area, and for his commitment to holacracy, a manager-free operating structure. 

Zappos’ current CEO,

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Service NSW expecting cyber attack to set it back AU$7m in legal and investigation costs

Service NSW, the New South Wales government’s one-stop shop for service delivery, in April 2020 experienced a cyber attack that compromised the information of 186,000 customers.

Following a four-month investigation that began in April, Service NSW said it identified that 738GB of data, which comprised of 3.8 million documents, was stolen from 47 staff email accounts.

Service NSW assured, however, there was no evidence that individual MyService NSW account data or Service NSW databases were compromised during the attack.

“This rigorous first step surfaced about 500,000 documents which referenced personal information,” Service NSW CEO Damon Rees said in September. “The data is made up of documents such as handwritten notes and forms, scans, and records of transaction applications.”

In delivering its 2020-21 Budget on Tuesday, the government revealed the legal and investigative cost it is expected to incur from the attack.

“In April 2020, Service NSW alerted police and authorities

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Argonne researchers develop machine-learning optimizer to slash product design costs | US Department of Energy Science News


DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

This animation shows ActivO’s approach for a 2D test problem. It shows the strong learner representation (left), the weak learner representation (center), and the improvements to the design objective (right). (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Argonne’s new AI technique may fast track the design and simulation of engines and all types of other products.

Computer simulations are a critical part of the product design optimization process, allowing engineers to test various configurations and select the best design among the many different alternatives. But even at a facility like the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, with its state-of-the-art resources, simulations can be very expensive and take a long time to run.

With the goal of accelerating this design process, a research team in Argonne’s Energy Systems (ES) division, comprised of postdoctoral appointee Opeoluwa Owoyele and research scientist

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Enhance Aerospace Design Processes And Lower Development Costs with Altair SimSolid | November 04, 2020

Register to learn about Altair’s CAD-based simulation process that can drastically reduce the time taken to build and solve large complicated components.

Originally presented:

November 4, 2020


1 hour

Presented by:


ongoing pandemic has severely hamstrung the aerospace industry. Now, more than
ever, this industry, across its entire supply chain, is looking for significant
improvements in its design-development process. These programs typically run
over many years and any reduction in development cycle times also reduce
development costs. The goal is to achieve these while improving performance and

this webinar, we will showcase a game-changing design simulation technology for
structural analysis that can augment and complement established design and PLM
processes. Built from the ground up to handle large, complex models, Altair
SimSolid provides fast and accurate simulation results – unmatched in the
industry – to

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Avoid The Hidden Costs Of App Development With These 15 Expert Strategies

Developing software applications is an important endeavor for many companies. It’s also a very expensive one—and the costs aren’t always apparent upfront. The time and resources required to build a successful app can quickly deplete a development team’s budget and energy.

It’s important to plan for as many of the expenses involved as possible, as well as to have a strategy in place to keep the development team from overextending themselves. That’s why we asked the members of Forbes Technology Council how to counteract some common “resource bleeds” in app development operations. Their best tips are below.

1. Invest in a top-quality QA team.

I think people underestimate the value of having a high-quality quality assurance team. These folks are the final line of defense between your product and the market. I think that you do need to go all out when you hire someone for this role. However,

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