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Verizon pulls the plug on videoconferencing app BlueJeans, its $400M investment

Verizon shuts down BlueJeans
Picture credits: jetcityimage2/DepositPhotos

News is in that, Verizon has decided to shut down BlueJeans, the videoconferencing app it acquired for $400 million in the early days of the pandemic. This move follows a trend of virtual event platforms facing challenges. Recently, Hopin sold its core virtual event assets at a much lower value than its peak valuation. In SEC filings, RingCentral confirmed they acquired Hopin for $15 million, a far cry from its peak valuation of almost $8 billion.

BlueJeans to be shut down

Verizon acquired BlueJeans, a videoconferencing platform during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reportedly, customers of BlueJeans received an email explaining the difficult choice to phase out their product suite. While the free Basic plan and trial offerings introduced by BlueJeans will no longer be available after August 31st, there’s no specified end date for access for paid users. Verizon hasn’t responded to inquiries about the situation.

Originally founded by Krish Ramakrishnan and Alagu Periyannan in 2009, BlueJeans gained traction under Verizon’s ownership, leading to a reported $400 million acquisition deal in April 2020. While the demand for videoconferencing platforms like BlueJeans surged during the pandemic, driven by remote work, the enthusiasm for virtual collaboration tools has decreased with the return to physical workplaces.

BlueJeans: what’s next?

The future of BlueJeans’ 500+ employees across six offices is uncertain. They might either face layoffs or be integrated into the parent company. BlueJeans’ primary offering is a versatile video conferencing platform suitable for webinars, virtual events, and hybrid meetings. 

They expanded their capabilities with BlueJeans Studio, a virtual production studio, in January 2022. In March, they introduced BlueJeans Basic, a free version of their tool, likely in competition with Zoom. Unfortunately, this free tier will be discontinued by the end of August.

Although not as widely recognised as some other players in the virtual events field, BlueJeans’ fate highlights waning corporate interest in this specific product category.

Zoom’s biggest rival?

Prior to Google Meet and Microsoft Teams gaining widespread popularity among businesses and other users, BlueJeans was regarded as Zoom’s primary competitor. It enjoyed popularity among numerous business customers, being one of the limited choices offering extensive video conferencing capabilities for large groups. 

Subsequently, concerns about Zoom’s China connections led several customers to hesitate in adopting it. Moreover, Zoom encountered security challenges during the pandemic, allowing external individuals to participate in private calls, a phenomenon dubbed “Zoombombing” by many.

But the onset of the pandemic paved the way for the growth of other platforms such as Google and Microsoft offerings. Even WhatsApp increased the limit for free users to join video calls. 

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