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Zoom’s fate tied to future of remote work

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A cat takes part in a Zoom call in Milan, Italy, this May.

A cat takes part in a Zoom call in Milan, Italy, this May. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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One of the most talked-about companies this year is Zoom Video Communications, provider of the video-conferencing software that many of us have been using since the pandemic started.

Zoom reports its earnings later today. While the company’s been on a roll, uncertainty lies ahead.

(Full disclosure: The interviews for this story were done on Zoom, after a Marketplace news meeting on Zoom.)

“The entire world is sort of doing everything on Zoom. I mean it’s become one of those verbs like ‘Kleenex’ or ‘Zamboni’ or ‘Xerox,’ ” said Dan Romanoff, who covers the tech sector at Morningstar. Romanoff said many companies plan to let their workers keep working remotely after the pandemic.

“I don’t think we’re going to go back to everyone going to the office,” he said.

Still, Zoom could face headwinds once COVID-19 restrictions on work and social life are eased, said Scott Kessler, an analyst at consultancy Third Bridge. “How sustainable is the momentum as the world hopefully normalizes?” he asked.

When promising news on COVID-19 vaccines drives drug company stocks up, it tends to drag stock in Zoom and other remote communication companies down.

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