Verizon to buy videoconferencing software company BlueJeans

Verizon said BlueJeans will become part of Verizon Business and be "deeply integrated" into its 5G product roadmap.

Verizon announced Thursday that it's buying BlueJeans as part of a push into the unified communications market. Verizon said BlueJeans will be "deeply integrated" into its 5G product roadmap, becoming part of Verizon Business and sold as a secure communications system for areas such as telemedicine, online learning and field service work.

Verizon's ambitions aside, the acquisition is yet another sign that videoconferencing software is having a moment. The novel coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for collaboration and videoconferencing software, as millions of employees work from home and increasingly rely on software tools to stay connected. 

"As the way we work continues to change, it is absolutely critical for businesses and public sector customers to have access to a comprehensive suite of offerings that are enterprise ready, secure, frictionless and that integrate with existing tools," said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, in a statement. "Collaboration and communications have become top of the agenda for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in recent months. We are excited to combine the power of BlueJeans' video platform with Verizon Business' connectivity networks, platforms and solutions to meet our customers' needs."

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Verizon said BlueJeans' founders and management team will remain with the company to continue to lead the platform's growth. BlueJeans' employees will also become part of Verizon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though some reports value the deal around $400 million. 

Focused primarily on enterprises, BlueJeans competes in the unified communications and collaboration market against a number of players, including Zoom and Highfive. Its videoconferencing platform, BlueJeans Meetings, enables instant connections and integrates with hardware-based conference room systems as well as enterprise applications like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Facebook Workplace. 

BlueJeans has more than 15,000 customers, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Red Hat, Intuit, Zillow and Nordstrom. The enterprise clientele points to the fact that BlueJeans is considered highly secure and offers end-to-end encryption -- a feature that has helped distinguish the platform from many of its rivals. Most notably, Zoom. 

Zoom has come under fire over the last few weeks for misleading consumers, claiming that its videoconferencing platform used end-to-end encryption when in fact it did not. The security issues caused a series of major deflections from the service. Google banned Zoom from its employee's devices, Taiwan told government employees not to use Zoom, and New York schools told its teachers to "gradually transition" from Zoom to another video-conferencing service.