Verizon’s official stance on the matter has not been released, but according to a report by industry publication 9to5 Google, an email was circulated to users of the BlueJeans app outlining the impending closure of the service. The use of the term ‘sunset’ may soften the impact, but the underlying message is unequivocal: BlueJeans is no longer in vogue.
The quoted email from Verizon explains, “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.” Additionally, the email outlines the initial phase of the shutdown strategy, which involves discontinuing free trials of the app and the BlueJeans Basic service level by the end of the current month.
BlueJeans Basic denotes the free version of the service. While the email doesn’t specifically reference the paid subscription tiers named BlueJeans Pro and BlueJeans Enterprise, the email’s intent to discontinue the entire suite of BlueJeans products is clear. Consequently, it’s reasonable to assume that users of these higher-tier services will also receive communication regarding the shutdown.
Verizon might be considering transitioning its paying subscribers to its proprietary business collaboration tools, although this remains uncertain at this point.
Back in April 2020, Verizon’s acquisition of BlueJeans occurred during the era when Zoom was a fixture in both personal and professional settings due to the pandemic. Verizon had initially laid out plans to merge BlueJeans with its existing unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) offerings, effectively strengthening its business-to-business (B2B) portfolio. The argument for advanced collaboration and communication tools for businesses was compelling.
It’s noteworthy that the current market landscape appears to have remained relatively stable since the acquisition. While personal and social interactions have reverted to a more in-person format, the demand for robust collaboration tools within the business sector persists.
As Verizon proceeds with the decision to phase out BlueJeans, the approach it takes with the paid subscription tiers is eagerly anticipated.
In the interim, this scenario mirrors other instances where major telecommunications operators ventured into adjacent industries through acquisitions, only to face challenges in integrating and maintaining success.
In comparison, the acquisition cost of BlueJeans, approximately $400 million, was considerably modest compared to prior acquisitions like AOL and Yahoo, which each incurred costs exceeding $4 billion before being divested in 2021 as part of a larger media business deal for $5 billion.
While BlueJeans may not be in the same league as those previous acquisitions, it has now become another instance of a telecommunications company entering a promising market, losing traction, and ultimately divesting from it.