Some time back I commented on rumors of a Sprint takeover by Google and at the time many thought the idea was crazy. Fast forward a few years, tens of thousands of Android devices and a Motorola Mobility acquisition later and now Google is reportedly in talks to launch a wireless service with a number of companies including Dish Networks. As you may recall, Steve Jobs too wanted to launch a wireless network and if Google is seriously exploring this option this means Apple has to be doing the same.
The next frontier of advertising revenue for Google is mobile and if carriers and Apple decide to lock the company out of this lucrative market (even partially), then they have no choice but to own the wireless pipes. Now the question of spectrum comes into play… Is T-Mobile too expensive? Is Sprint worth another look? Assuming the rumors were true of course.
All of this shows the future for all successful companies is to own everything – at least they think this is the case. Like Apple which owns chips to distribution. This is counter to much of what we saw in the PC space in nineties when Dell bought off-the-shelf components and cleaned Compaq’s sales clock in the process. At the time Compaq was meticulously designing components at high-cost to extract a bit more performance than what you could buy on the open market from common component suppliers. Dell showed them and others that it made mores sense to become a marketing machine and sell computers based on commoditized parts.
But the target is Apple. Amazon designs its own tablets because of Apple. Microsoft has stores because of Apple. Almost every phone maker has its own music store because of Apple. Microsoft Surface was a response to Apple.
If Google does indeed want to get into the wireless business beyond the WiFi hotspots it offers around the country, it is probably because they heard Apple was about to do the same.