Verizon Communications has agreed to buy video-conferencing company BlueJeans Network, a rival of Zoom Video Communications, for less than US$500 million (A$792 million) at a time that millions work from home due to widely-enforced lockdowns.
Shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of the new coronavirus have led businesses across the globe to foster a virtual office environment, leading to a surge in demand for video-conferencing apps such as Zoom, Cisco’s Webex and Microsoft’s Teams.
BlueJeans, whose conferencing app is used in 180 countries, is already a partner of Verizon and its meeting app is offered to clients under the telecom company’s unified communications and collaboration services.
BlueJeans, which has not publicly disclosed its user numbers, counts big enterprises such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and ViacomCBS among its customers.
Large banks like Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered are also known to use BlueJeans.
However, BlueJeans did not spend as much on product development and customer service as they should have, despite having a big head start over Zoom, Summit Insights Group analyst Jonathan Kees said.
Now with Verizon’s deep pockets, BlueJeans can jumpstart its offerings with heavy investments in research and development, and product integration, Kees said.
Verizon said it would integrate BlueJeans into its 5G product plan, aiming to tap areas such as telemedicine and distance learning.