Wireless Google!

by Sachin Balagopalan on July 28, 2007 · 1 comment


If anyone is dubious about Google not being interested in the wireless space then this latest deal with Sprint for its upcoming WiMax network should put those doubts to rest. Sprint and Google will be collaborating on a new mobile portal for Sprint’s WiMax network which will allow mobile internet customers to access the Google Apps communication suite i.e Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk and of-course Google’s mighty search capabilities.

So what’s in it for Google? Well the obvious answer is ad revenues. Sprint hopes to service at least 100 million users by the end of 2007. Google’s sophisticated ad engine will be serving up those “customized” ads to those 100 million users accessing the WiMax network thru their portable devices like laptops, gaming devices, media players, mobile internet devices and of course cell phones. The timing could not be better for Google as it looks to break into the mobile arena.

However the main reason for Google to enter into this partnership with Sprint, I think runs deeper than just making some quick ad revenue by piggy backing off Sprint’s WiMax technology. Just last week Google made a bid for the soon to be available 700-MHz spectrum. If Google does indeed win the licenses from the auction (assuming the FCC meets the four open platforms Google has proposed) it will be interesting to see how Google utilizes the spectrum. The bottom line is Google is without question looking to gain a foothold in the wireless mobile space.

In my opinion both the companies need each other to a great extent. Strategically Google needs to enter the wireless arena if it wants to grow as a company but is really not quite sure where it’s going to “fit” in. So by partnering with Sprint and more importantly mobile wireless broadband (which right now is lacking in other carriers) they not only will be part of the “a-ah” moment when customers are finally able to access the internet at wireless speeds five times faster but they get to do what they’re good at i.e Search engine and Google apps. There is no “learning curve” to come up for Google from a technical point of view because the apps are already developed for the mobile platform.

Sprint on the other hand needs the application muscle of a company like Google. The WiMax network on its own is useless if there are no “killer apps” to support it. Google provides the “killer apps” in the form of an integrated communication suite comprising of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk (i.e Google Apps) and of course Search capabilities. With a well designed intuitive application suite customers will be able to embrace the technology easily.

In a nutshell I think this partnership at the end of the day will be good for the customers. Of course there are still uncertainties like how much the plan is going to cost or will customers willingly upgrade to devices that support WiMax. Sprint is working towards an ecosystem that will include partners who will adopt the WiMax technology. This is probably a good strategy to ensure the technology is actually productized. Remember WiMax has been around for quite sometime now but no one has been able to do anything with it - until now. Partnering with a company like Google will certainly help the cause.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

make something 03.01.11 at 2:42 pm

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