Why Google wants to control more Wi-Fi
A fake press release about buying ICOA didn't pan out. But Google is still marching ahead with plans for more pervasive Wi-Fi as a way around Verizon and AT&T.
No, Google (GOOG) isn't paying $400 million for wireless Internet network provider ICOA. But that doesn't mean they're not shopping around.
A press release that made its way to PRWeb on Monday had Google dropping a pile of cash for the Warwick, R.I., company, but ICOA chief executive George Strouthopoulos sent an e-mail to PCMag and TechCrunch vehemently denying his company was acquired. The company's 1,500 broadband hotspots at airports, hotels, marinas, restaurants and other locations in 45 states would be a nice asset if ICOA were selling, but Google's plans for more pervasive Wi-Fi will go on without it.
Google's loudly hinted at this type of expansion before, if only to give potential users a way around carriers like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) and the fees that accompany them. Google launched its high-speed Internet and television pilot program Google Fiber in Kansas City earlier this month and hooked on with Boingo Wireless to sponsor 4,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots for Android, Apple (AAPL) OS X and Microsoft (MSFT) Windows PC users back in September. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Picking up ICOA would have put Google in direct competition with Boingo, but that non-acquisition leaves the door open for future collaboration or an even bigger wireless deal. A Boingo buyout isn't even speculative at this point, but a big wireless buy would fit right into Google's grand plans.
As the folks at SlashGear point out, Google has wanted to bypass big wireless provider phone deals for its Android devices for some time now. Its Nexus One phone tanked in 2010 largely because still smartphone-shy consumers couldn't envision paying more than $500 for an unlocked device with no plan. Google learned from that mistake and offered its unlocked Nexus 4 for $299, which carriers already charge for subsidized, high-memory versions of some of the market's most popular phones.
Not that other the makers of other data-driven mobile operating systems really wanted to play Ma Bell, either. Steve Jobs originally envisioned the iPhone as a strictly wireless device that didn't need Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. Apple's FaceTime and Microsoft's acquisition of Skype (which is now used on the Windows Phone 8) suggest that dream may not be dead.
All of this Wi-Fi jockeying has wireless carriers changing their gameplan a bit. Instead of getting nothing out of Google's $250 Chromebook laptop, Verizon jumped in on a $329 3G alternate that comes with two years of free, 100-megabyte base 3G service. That's $80 for two years of coverage that's basically a safety net for Wi-Fi service. Compare that to the $50 a month Verizon squeezes from subscribers to its new base 1 gigabyte data plan.
Maybe that big Google press release didn't pan out, but there's a bigger Google Wi-Fi story being written far more incrementally.
More from MSN Money
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
A project that never got past the drawing board in the 1990s sees new life as organizers try again.
- Homeowners insurance: Bountiful coverage for bad cooking
- 3 stocks for the 3-D printing revolution
- Can you opt out of Medicare?
- Why restaurants are adding tablets to the tables
- America's greatest export is its debt
- True test for Obamacare: Will it make US healthier?
- Who will foot the bill for Detroit's bankruptcy?
- How to refinance without resetting the mortgage clock
- Krispy Kreme gets burned
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, registering its fourth consecutive decline. Today's session proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride for stocks as the S&P 500 opened in the red, rallied into positive territory, fell to fresh lows, and regained the bulk of its losses into the close.
For the second day in a row, the early weakness coincided with heavy selling in Europe. In addition, bonds and risk assets were pressured by a better-than-expected ADP Employment report, which ... More
More Market News
For years, Todd Mills pushed Frito-Lay to make taco shells from Doritos. He died from a brain tumor on Thanksgiving.