BlueJeans, the video conferencing app that became an overnight hit during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns, is shutting down. As reported by 9to5Google, members of BlueJeans service have started receiving an email that the app is being “sunset.” In the initial shut-down-phase, the free version of the video conferencing app will no longer be available from August 31. Customers, mainly businesses with the paid version of BlueJeans, will likely be given a longer period to transition. The email does not state whether paid members will be given a refund once the app is fully tanked.
First launched in 2009, BlueJeans was acquired by American telecommunications company Verizon in 2020 at the onset of COVID-19-induced lockdowns. The merger was worth roughly $400 million. In 2020, Airtel also collaborated with Verizon to bring BlueJeans to more customers in India.
Before Google Meet and Microsoft Teams became mainstream among business customers and others, BlueJeans was considered Zoom’s biggest rival. It was also popular among many business customers as it was among the few options that provided video conferencing features for a large group. Many customers also later expressed apprehensions about using Zoom due to its links with China. Zoom also faced security issues during the pandemic. Many outsiders were also able to join private calls, which many started referring to as “Zoombombing”.
At the time of BlueJean’s acquisition in 2020, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said that the video conferencing platform has 15,000 customers paid customers. CNBC reported in 2020 that Facebook, LinkedIn and IBM-owned RedHat were among its customers. In an interview with Business Insider in 2020, BlueJeans cofounder Krish Ramakrishnan also said the BlueJeans witnessed a “300 per cent increase in video traffic and usage in just three months (January to March).” Ramakrishnan also suggested that video conferencing clearly will “become a more widely used technology.”
However, the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the growth of other video conferencing platforms. Within just months, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet (then Hangout), and even WhatsApp increased the limit for free users to join video calls. Many of these platforms rolled out features like screen sharing and closed captions to free customers.
The efforts to improve the platforms with plugins continue. Earlier this week, WhatsApp announced screen sharing during video calls.