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The sentiment on social media was that of surprise as analysts weighed in. A $400 million investment and nothing to show.
August 10, 2023
It would appear that one major company’s significant investment in unified communications and collaboration was in vain. Verizon this week announced it would shut down BlueJeans by Verizon.
The carrier seemed poised to capitalize on the tremendous growth of UCC during the pandemic by acquiring BlueJeans, the videoconferencing provider, just three years ago, for $400 million.
Masked by some of the most identifiable brands on the planet and by what most assumed would be nearly unlimited funds, it seemed that BlueJeans was too big to fail. That notion has been dispelled, with the sentiment on social media reflecting as much.
Many prominent UCC analysts, partners and others said they “didn’t see [the shutdown] coming.”
We caught up with David Smith, founder and principal of InFlow Analysis, to get his take on the closure.
InFlow Analysis’ David Smith
“BlueJeans is actually a great video and events service that can scale,” Smith told Channel Futures. “It was one of the first video conferencing and infrastructure services touting interoperability among disparate video systems.”
But he added that Verizon was “late to the game” in acquiring BlueJeans in 2020, citing that “Zoom and others were already seeing video usage spike due to the pandemic — arriving late to the party without the chance to recover their investment. And the overall meetings and virtual events space is seeing a bit of market correction after the initial boom from the pandemic.”
In an email to users, Verizon wrote:
“Dear BlueJeans User,
Thank you for being a valued user of BlueJeans by Verizon services. We want to share that we made the difficult decision to sunset our suite of BlueJeans products. BlueJeans is an award-winning product that connects our customers around the world. But we have made this decision due to the changing market landscape.
“In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact us [here]. Finally, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a valued BlueJeans user.”
That “changing market landscape” featured extreme competition from products such as Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams. At the height of the pandemic, these solutions all exploded with massive growth, with Zoom all but emerging as the little engine that could.
But today, even Zoom isn’t doing as well as it once did. Its numbers have sloped. In May, Zoom announced that its first-quarter revenue surpassed Wall Street expectations. It was, however, the slowest quarterly growth (3%) in the company’s history. In February, Zoom announced it would lay off 1,300 staff members, or 15% of its workforce.
All of this leads us to what appears to be: the seemingly incidental closing of BlueJeans by Verizon. It looks to have come as a shock to many in the industry, notably because, as of April, Verizon Business said it would expand its BlueJeans by Verizon partner program in Latin America.
That’s not exactly the move of a firm that understood it would become obsolete a mere four months later. And before that, Gartner put BlueJeans in its 2021 Magic Quadrant report for meeting solutions, fetching praise for “completeness of vision and ability to execute.”
Channel Futures reached out to Verizon for comment but didn’t hear back by time of publication. There also hasn’t been an official statement beyond the one Verizon sent to customers noting that it would soon discontinue BlueJeans technology.
Read more about:Agents
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.
As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.
Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.
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