First off, congratulations to the team at SipPhone, the company behind Gizmo, and especially to neighbor Michael Robertson who has according to all accounts sold the company to Google for $30,000,000 dollars. All the world is waiting for is the official announcement, but here's what I have learned from sources other than Robertson, who has to be non-committal publicly.
1) The deal is for $30,000,000
2) It was done because Gizmo/Sipphone will provide both software and PSTN termination, billing, etc. to Google
3) The staff that Robertson has assembled will stay for the most part intact here in San Diego
4) Robertson will stay on with Google in a capacity where his "disruptive" talents can be well utilized, starting with telephony, but eventually in other areas
It was only last Friday when I hinted that this deal was likely going to happen, by suggesting that it made a lot of sense. In that post I explained why Google's acquisition made sense stating:
My take--this means that Gizmo, owned by neighbor Michael Robertson should be in the running for a company like Google to pick them up. The Google Voice, Google Talk platform could immediately gel and then become a major competitor. What's more if you factor in Android, with Google Voice, the troika becomes a killer combination, and may be the only service that can rival Skype, as all that Google ad space can get put to use.
What it would also mean is the first real viable option to go up against the broadband providers who are selling phone service.
If you look over most of the news accounts I think you'll see that they reflect those points and expand upon them, including PC World, which quoted me directly and was only one of the news outlets who called or emailed me yesterday to provide perspective.
Some more personal perspective-back in 2006/2007 my agency represented GrandCentral and I suggested to Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet that they interop using SIP with Gizmo, making it possible for GrandCentral users to receive their calls on Gizmo, and because the traffic was going to be on net, to reduce costs. That interoperability exists to this day and with an ever expanding user base (as they invite more people in) this means GoogleVoice users can add the Gizmo voice client and receive calls or have them bridged and originated using the Gizmo client. This has massive implications as in essence Google by purchasing Gizmo ends up saving money on both origination and termination, and backdoor onto the iPhone and into Skype immediately, at least when connected to WiFi, but also when users are mobile.
Already there are numerous SIP clients for the iPhone. Many of them are open, and accept SIP credentials, something every GIZMO user receives when they sign up. When you make Gizmo's ID one of your GoogleVoice termination points, that would make your iPhone an endpoint, presuming the application was running in the foreground as you can follow these instructions to set up GV to route calls to it. This post sums up what is also possible, though the details have magically been removed from Gizmo's web site.
Then there's Skype and the OpenSky gateway which makes Skype accessible. Now I wouldn't be surprised if GoogleVoice ends up adding a Skype direct feed, ala what exists with Gizmo already, as the OpenSky service is a back door into Skype and since Skype has an iPhone client already, well, you get my drift, especially when you think how Skype will eventually work over 3G and OpenSky has an SMS trigger already built in, and GoogleVoice already has SMS, so you can in theory have a callback type service that triggers a no cost call via GoogleVoice (or a lower than Skype rate International call) that rides reaches your iPhone over Skype, without a GoogleVoice client even being available.
Google bought a lot more than just termination to the PSTN and some well built software. They bought a very disruptive company with lots of good ideas and the ability to innovate and implement. Just like they did with GrandCentral.