Zoom Video Communications has banned its distributors from selling access to the videoconferencing service to government agencies and state-owned companies from Russia and the CIS countries. Educational institutions may suffer from this, but market participants believe that Western services can be successfully replaced by domestic counterparts. Kommersant writes about this with reference to a letter from WrightConf, a distributor of Zoom solutions in Russia and the CIS, to its partners.
The letter says that Zoom is revoking its Russian partner’s authorization to sell the service to institutions and organizations with government beneficiaries. The General Director of WrightConf, Andrey Petrenko, confirmed the authenticity of the letter, adding that the details of further cooperation with the American company are currently being clarified. He also noted that work under the existing contracts will continue. Zoom representatives declined to comment on the matter.
Changes to Zoom’s policy may affect the operation of schools and universities. According to available data, in the past year, WrightConf participated in at least four tenders for the supply of Zoom to educational institutions for a total of 1.1 million rubles. In total, about 40 tenders were found on the public procurement website over the past year, within the framework of which Russian educational institutions purchased Zoom.
It should be noted that Zoom is not the first company to terminate or restrict the provision of services in Russia. In December last year, Microsoft refused to sell the software of the Moscow State Technical University. N.E. Bauman due to the fact that the university falls under US sanctions. TrueConf Development Director Dmitry Odintsov believes that Zoom’s decision is also associated with concerns about possible sanctions. “Given that the United States is Zoom’s main market, the company tries to rule out any excuses that could undermine their image.“, – quotes the source of the words of Mr. Odintsov. In addition, the reason for Zoom’s decision may lie in Russian legislation, in order to comply with which user data must be stored on the territory of the country.
According to experts, Zoom’s refusal to work with the public sector is not a tragedy. Dmitry Parshin, director of the Artezio development center, believes that in the corporate and user segments of video conferencing, it is quite possible to replace Zoom with solutions from Yandex. Currently, promising analogues of Zoom for the public sector are being developed. In addition, in the Russian market Zoom competes with the services Video Bridge, TrueConf, Webinar.
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