Blue Jeans shareholders trouser circa $400 million as Verizon buys into Web video conferencing

© Flickr/cc-licence/LarsPlougmann

© Flickr/cc-licence/LarsPlougmann

  • Like rival Zoom, Blue Jeans taps online video conferencing and is doing well from the pandemic 
  • Its USP is to “make  joining a meeting directly from a web browser easy, with no passwords or downloads required”
  • Verizon sees synergy with 5G

The pandemic has sparked a burst of web-scale communication tool adoption by both companies and individuals. So it would be weird if a large telco with DSP ambitions such as, say,  Verizon weren’t to try to get in on the act. 

And Verizon has.

It announced today that it was buying video conferencing platform BlueJeans.  Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has explained to CNBC that he sees owning the company as an opportunity to compete with the existing platforms and really set the app on fire by integrating it with Verizon’s 5G services. 

Predictably, perhaps, the global lockdown (where it’s occurred) has seen a dizzying uptake of services from the likes of Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, as the work-at-home, the unemployed or the furloughed  all look to work their keyboards or stay in touch with the outside world via the internet. 

It’s thought that Verizon is to pay about  $400 million for BlueJeans which reportedly has more than 15,000 customers - not huge by Web-scale applications standards but something to be getting on with. 

But life in the fast lane is not necessarily comfortable. One of the most successful web video outfits - Zoom - managed to accelerate into trouble by allegedly overstating its prospects. Zoom shareholders claim they’ve already lost money because of it and Zoom is fighting off suits and suffering the departure of big accounts (see - That was quick: is Zoom doomed already?

At this stage though there is plenty of market still to fight for. Not only is the pandemic and resulting lockdown likely to continue, perhaps in less extreme form, for quite some time, but observers are firmly coming round to the idea that home and flexible working is now here to stay. The need to be ready to go back to lockdown at any moment after the  strictures are partially lifted will see to that. The applications will be on standby and, like Verizon, other telcos will want to have skin in the game too. 

It’s ironic that the old telco videophone concept - tried and failed last century - has at last found expression, though not quite as we expected. 

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