Zoom has had a “lot of discussions internally” about legal action against JioMeet for closely imitating its user interface, the company’s India head Sameer Raje indicated in an interview with the Economic Times. After JioMeet was launched, Zoom put out a generic statement without drawing attention to the similarities between the apps.
“Zoom has experienced intense competition since it was established in 2011, and yet we have become the platform of choice for millions of participants around the world,” the statement said. “We know what it takes to become the unified communications platform we are today, including the immense amount of work and focus required to create our frictionless user experience, sophisticated security, and scalable architecture.” A Zoom spokesperson said they had no immediate comment in response to our query on what legal options they are considering.
Company asserts importance of India
Over the last few days, the company has been trying to emphasize its Indian-ness to the media and users. The main talking points the company is pushing — including in a recent Medium post by a newly hired Indian-born executive — are that the company has an office and two data centres in India. Never mind, of course, that this office is not listed on its website, or that its supposed data centres are actually Tata Communications’ infrastructure, or that access to them is limited to paying subscribers. The cherry on top is that pricing in India is still in dollars, and Zoom does not collect taxes from customers buying subscriptions directly on its website.
But the company’s PR push is understandable — the company faces a lawsuit in the Supreme Court over its security, and the Home Ministry has advised against the service even for private non-government use. On top of that, perceptions that the company is Chinese due to its significant presence in that country are a reason for concern amidst heightened anti-Chinese sentiment following the India–China border skirmishes.