Google eyes Skype’s pie, Skype hires pie guardians


The Big G is serious about IP communications, as in both voice and video. Remember when Gtalk was introduced? Yeah, me either. The Google faithful saw the late birth of Gtalk, went meh, then continued their IMs on AIM, Yahoo, and MSN. Google may be the King of Search, but it finally admitted defeat to the Lord of IM when it integrated AIM into Gtalk. Then Gtalk evolved into Google Chat with audio and video capabilities (thanks to stealthy Vidyo technology).

Last year it acquired Gizmo5 to get nice VOIP software on the Web, desktop, and mobile devices. I’m quite a fan of Gizmo5. Paired with Google Voice (let’s not forget its acquisition of GrandCentral, another major purchase in the communications space), I can make unlimited free VOIP calls.

On Tuesday we learned that the Big G just got bigger by gobbling up Global IP Solutions (aka GIPS) for $68 million in cash. Certainly not pocket change, but I think it’s worth every penny considering GIPS supplies the technologies to an impressive list of customers.

Hmmm, is there any doubt what Google is up to? GrandCentral + Gizmo5 + GIPS = ??? I know what you’re thinking: Google likes to buy companies that start with the letter ‘G’. Okay, wait, don’t get distracted by Google’s G-fetish…

…The word out on the streets is that Big G is ready to challenge Skype. The folks over at Skype must’ve sensed something wasn’t quite right because about the same time as the Google-GIPS news broke, Skype released news of two executive appointments — a Chief Legal Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer.

Coincidence? I think not!

Skype has become quite a force to be reckoned with in both the traditional telecom and IP communications markets. Geeks use it, traveling businessmen use it, grandmas use it, relief workers use it, journalists use it, dictators use it, and it wouldn’t be long before your dog starts using it too.

But I believe Google has a much bigger appetite than to just eat from Skype’s pie. Google has hinted previously to include Voice and Chat into its business offering, so with GIPS in its arsenal it can really make a splash in the B2B market. It’s not just Skype, but a couple of other West Coast goliaths, namely Cisco and Microsoft. The Big G has made Web search as simple as it is ubiquitous. Now it’s time for videoconferencing services.

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