[UPDATE: April fool! So, it’s past midday in London therefore, I’m afraid to report that, as per the text below, this was an April Fool]
Google, the world leader in search, has, this morning, announced the purchase of Vodafone’s entire business, in a deal valued at approximately $200 billion — a substantial premium over Vodafone’s $160bn market value yesterday. Presumably to make the deal happen and dissuade other bidders from getting ideas.
The deal gives Google direct control of the mobile handsets (and, of course, mobile search revenue) of at least 250 million wireless subscribers around the world. Arun Sarin, due to speak at CTIA Wireless tomorrow, is reportedly delighted with the deal — he is to become VP of Global Wireless Strategy for the new entity.
No name changes as yet. It’ll still be called Vodafone but off the record, quite a few people reckon that we’ll shortly be calling Vodafone by the moniker, ‘GW’ (that is, ‘Google Wireless’). All handsets will have a direct Google search box on the standby screen — no messing around with having to load up web browsers and get connectivity before Googling. It’s a good idea. Sergey and the team at Google have made no secret that the mobile web is the way ahead. Just like they’ve done previously with huge search deals to lock in traffic (I’m thinking AOL, etc.), it makes sense to lock-in a whopping percentage of the Western economy’s wireless subscribers.
Vodafone, previously looking to standardise on a few platforms, including Symbian, is shortly to implement Google’s Android across most of it’s handsets. That should be exciting. Particularly since Nokia have apparently agreed to support Android on their upcoming N-Series line-up — in a bit of an unexpected bloody nose to the S60 chaps.
The best news is for those triple-A-rated mobile customers who, despite being on 35 pound/month contracts, always seem to get monthly invoices in the 150 pound range. Well, no more. Starting August 1st, all data and standard calls are free. You simply pay a standing $10 or £10/month fee for your subscription. Google doesn’t want your per minute or per meg data revenues. It wasn’t your supernormal search revenues. That should put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Bring on August 1st. Congratulations to all at the Google Wireless Team and, of course, nice one to the Vodafone Direction Team. That’s a pretty good exit and I’m sure the market will be delighted.
Presumably Google will shortly own half of Verizon — but no word yet on whether they’ll do a full acquisition of ‘America’s most reliable network’ as yet.
Oh, and remember it’s April 1st in London right now, ergo this post is 100% inaccurate… let’s be clear — ONE HUNDRED PERCENT — inaccurate. April Fool.
But geez it would have shaken up the industry if accurate, eh? 😉