Verizon’s recent announcement that it will begin decommissioning the BlueJeans communications and conferencing platform shows the pandemic-fueled remote work goldrush is coming to an end.
In early August, the firm issued a notice to users that the video conferencing platform will begin winding down. Verizon said at the time that the decision to decommission BlueJeans was due to a “changing market landscape” that made the continuation of the app untenable.
The decommissioning project will first see basic and free trial tiers closed down by 31 August. Meanwhile, other users will still be able to access services until December 2023.
“We want to share that we have made the difficult decision to sunset our suit of BlueJeans products,” the firm said in an email notice to users.
“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.”
Why is the BlueJeans platform closing?
Verizon’s announcement brings to a close more than 13 years of operations for BlueJeans, which launched officially in 2011 and was later acquired by the US communications giant in April 2020.
The acquisition came at a pivotal time for Verizon and the growing necessity of video conferencing - the first batch of global lockdowns in response to the surging COVID pandemic.
Verizon invested heavily in the platform following the deal, but in recent months the platform appears to have fallen flat amid an increasingly competitive business landscape.
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The dissipation of the pandemic, a return to office work for many companies globally, and deteriorating economic conditions would, at first glance, appear to be the primary cause for BlueJeans’ demise.
However, the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) industry is still experiencing impressive growth, research shows.
Analysis from IDC found that revenues in the market increased by 7.2% year-on-year to over $15 billion in Q1 2023. Similarly, for the full year, IDC anticipates that revenues are set to growth by 8.2%.
With impressive growth in the space, BlueJeans’ failures appear to lie firmly in the conditions under which industry stakeholders are operating.
What are analysts saying?
Major industry players like Zoom, Microsoft, and Google have built somewhat of a stranglehold in the space since the onset of the pandemic, according to Gary Barton, research director for enterprise technology and services at Global Data.
The reality is that the industry has become increasingly stifled and difficult to maintain growth in a battle against firms with deep pockets and a widening array of products.
“The UC market has grown at double-digit percentage rates since the end of the pandemic and will continue to do so until at least 2026, highlighting the ongoing strength in the market despite a gradual return to the office,” he said.
“Despite this growth, Microsoft’s decision to ‘give’ Teams away with its wider suite of services such as 365 and Dynamics has given it a crucial market advantage that has seen even Cisco and Zoom begin to suffer.”
Pointing specifically at Microsoft, Barton suggested that the “depth of its R&D resources” highlight the strained conditions that BlueJeans was forced to contend with.
Microsoft invested heavily in its 365 product line during the onset of the pandemic, positioning it as one of the leading suites during this period.
In recent months, Barton noted, the generative AI ‘boom’ and the firm’s investment in supporting users with tools such as the 365 AI copilot differentiated it and created difficult conditions for competitors to keep pace.
BlueJeans isn’t the only post-pandemic communications casualty reported in recent weeks.
Hopin, which achieved unicorn status off the back of a surge in pandemic-era business and was once valued at over $8 billion, sold its own digital events business for just $49 million.
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Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.
He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.