Verizon today said it has entered into an agreement to buy video conferencing firm Blue Jeans as the coronavirus lockdown fuels huge demand for remote working.
The US telecoms giant did not disclose the value of the deal but the Wall Street Journal reported a price tag of under $500m (£401m).
California-based Blue Jeans provide video conferencing services for business customers. Alongside rivals such as Skype and Zoom the company has faced a surge in demand as millions of workers worldwide are forced to stay at home during the pandemic.
Verizon said the video platform would complement its portfolio of communications offerings and play into the company’s 5G strategy.
In particular, the company said Blue Jeans’ technology would be integrated into its services for areas such as telemedicine, distance learning and field service work.
“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, chief executive of Verizon Business.
“Collaboration and communications have become top of the agenda for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in recent months.”
Blue Jeans was founded in 2009 and has established itself as a key business rival to services such as Zoom and Skype, which offer free versions and are often used for social video chats. Blue Jeans’ founders and management will join Verizon after the deal has completed.
“The combination of Blue Jeans’ world class enterprise video collaboration platform and trusted brand with Verizon Business’ next generation edge computing innovation will deliver highly differentiated and compelling solutions to our joint customers,” said Quentin Gallivan, chief executive of Blue Jeans Network.
“We are very excited about joining the Verizon team and we truly believe the future of business communications starts today.”
It comes as Zoom faces growing scrutiny over its security policies following a string of so-called Zoombombing issues, in which hackers have broken into strangers’ video chats to disrupt the call — often with racial slurs or lewd imagery.
Earlier this week Standard Chartered became the first major bank to ban employees from using Zoom due to cybersecurity concerns.