Google’s (GOOG) attack on Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and others kicks into high gear

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 09.20.2010 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (0 Comments)

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Until recently, you needed to have a phone carrier to use a mobile phone or a traditional line. That gave all kind of power to companies such as Verizon and AT&T as they were the key that users needed to use friends and family. That is changing very very quickly. Already, companies like Skype made “calling” an action that could be done through any internet connection.

That being said, using Skype as a complete solution was too tricky for the average user and often complex for most users to use as a mobile device. The key was that phone carriers held the phone number thus keeping much of the power. But Google voice, a recently launched service gives that power back to the end user. Basically, users have a number that they can then redirect easily to a home, work, mobile or any other number. That makes the carrier less useful in most cases and irrelevant in many other cases.

Why? Because as wifi becomes widespread, it becomes less and less important to use these carriers. In many cities, wifi is being offered either for a small fee or even for free which makes it possible to only use wifi. We’re not quite there yet but it’s getting there very quickly and you can expect line carriers to see net users decrease as a whole over the next few years.

More power to Google

Google had seen its Google Voice application blocked by Apple but with the recent changes in Apple’s app policies, Google Voice’s app is being rolled back onto Itunes giving it access to Ipod/Ipad/Iphone users, not bad to get more users. The goal of course is to increase Google’s role in our information flow. Like many other of its products, the objective for now concerns market share, not revenues or profits. With solutions like Android gaining so many new users every month, Google will have many different avenues to get revenue streams from but as much as analysts and investors put pressure, it’s not the top priority at Google which is fine by me as long term growth should be the top goal in my opinion.

How big can Google Voice become?

I would expect slower growth than other products because using it is not as straight forward as other products like search or email. That being said, there are a lot of pros and money to be saved for users of the service so I would expect the service to catch up gradually. Actually, having an app on Itunes is a great way to get users to gain knowledge. It will also be interesting to see how soon Google can open the product to international users as it is currently offered to US residents.

Skype also in trouble

What is also clear is that Google intends to compete head on with Skype regarding calls made from the internet and when it made calling possible from Gmail, it was a major step forward and a major threat to Skype which is still expecting to do an IPO later this year. If that happens, I would expect the stock t become a good stock to short… We’ll see! Do you have any thoughts on Google’s venture into the phone business?

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