Zoom is a great case study for why becoming the “Xerox” for a category isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For most laypeople, “Zoom” became the term to describe any video conferencing software. After the meetings went online, high profile scandals hit Zoom as trolls crashed public meetings and various conferencing foibles became regular news items – with Zoom as the poster child for the space. As a result, they focused on safety and usability features for the broad audience they attracted, resulting in a product that takes me ~4 clicks to fully join a conference. (Join conference, choose web audio, un-mute microphone, turn on camera…)

Even as “Zoom” was the brand that defined the category, Teams and Hangouts kept growing their share, thanks to easier distribution, bundled pricing, and less scandalous attention.

Zoom is now just above a TENTH of it’s all time high during the pandemic.

It’s nice to be the brand that defines a category. But the benefits are fleeting.