According to reports (Michael Arrington at Techcrunch). Google has acquired Gizmo5. If you aren’t familiar, Gizmo5 is a VOIP client/soft phone. The acquisition is rumored to be in the $30 million dollar range and became possible when Skype made nice with the founders and brought them back in house (as equity holders in the new entity). This gave them the rights to a key piece of software to keep their existing technology. Crazy as it may sound, Skype (owned by Ebay right now) failed to renew their licensing to this technology. That is like buying a computer and licensing the monitor. When you fail to renew your monitor license you don’t have much.
Tangent: Failure to renew key pieces in a large company is not new. When no one knows whose responsibility it is, this can be overlooked. Maybe it was Meg’s job and she failed to do so before leaving… who knows. There are some great domain stories from the past. Adobe failed to renew Photoshop.com… TWICE! It cost them dearly on the one occasion since there was no WIPO at the time to determine the dispute and they couldn’t afford to wait for the courts to decide who should own it.
Google could be changing the game once again. The Gizmo 5 purchase could pave the way for them to offer a product that fully competes with Skype. How do you think their cell carrier partners feel about this move? Doesn’t Google essentially have their own data network that wouldn’t have to rely on the carriers? They do own a lot of fiber. Smart move Google.
My hunch is the Index Ventures (who was cut out of the deal when the Skype co-founders were brought in) might be please that they were cut out after the Google / Gizmo deal.