Verizon to 'sunset' Blue Jeans vidconf platform
Also-ran service done in by ‘changing market conditions in a post-pandemic landscape'
Verizon has decided to send its BlueJeans video collaboration platform riding off into the sunset, as it were.
The US telco acquired BlueJeans in April 2020 – a time when the $500 million price tag looked like a good deal as much of the world started to work from home while COVID-19's initial assault on humanity commenced.
"The combination of BlueJeans' world class enterprise video collaboration platform and trusted brand with Verizon Business's next generation edge computing innovation will deliver highly differentiated and compelling solutions to our joint customers," BlueJeans CEO Quentin Gallivan told The Register at the time.
Just over three years later, Verizon Business told us "changing market conditions in a post-pandemic landscape" mean BlueJeans will be "sunset."
The sun comes up after every sunset – but BlueJeans is not coming back. Verizon Business told us it is "refocusing its efforts on other key priorities" but didn't elaborate.
The telco offered strong clues about those priorities on its Q1 2023 earnings call, when discussing the appointment of Kyle Malady as CEO of the business unit. Investors were told [PDF] "His focus is clear: drive sustainable growth in mobility and deliver on the revenue growth opportunities within fixed wireless, 5G private wireless and mobile edge compute solutions."
BlueJeans is none of those things.
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It's not hard to guess what Verizon Business means when it says "changing market conditions in a post-pandemic landscape" are the reason for BlueJeans unravelling.
Vidchat networks aren't cheap to run and BlueJeans faced plenty of competition from the likes of Cisco's WebEx and Google's WorkSpaces. During the pandemic, Microsoft Teams came captured tens of millions of users with a very keenly priced bundled offering.
And of course, Zoom became a byword for this sort of collaboration – so much so that the term "Zoom fatigue" gained currency to describe the phenomenon of boredom and frustration with online meetings.
Businesses have picked up on Zoom fatigue – and the decrease in spontaneous collaboration it engenders – and responded by insisting their staff return to physical offices. And once a worker is in the office, they’re less likely to need a video chat.
Beyond those secular trends, Verizon Business just appears to have been less than interested in BlueJeans: the service didn’t rate a mention on either the Q1 or Q2 2023 earnings calls. Nor was collaboration deemed worthy of discussion.
But a "cost efficiency program" with a target of finding $2 billion to $3 billion of annual savings by 2025 was discussed.
9to5Google has reported a letter sent by BlueJeans to its customers that states "BlueJeans Basic and free trial offerings will be discontinued effective August 31, 2023." It's unclear when paid users of the service will have to decide whether their migration plans will see them zoom to Zoom, team up with Teams, or select other alternatives that don't have names suggesting gentle puns indicating an intention to become a customer. Waving for WebEx doesn't work. ®