Yesterday at Google I/O a lot of new devices and concepts came forward from Google and GigaOm carried it blow by blow. In thinking overnight about what Google is doing, it became obvious to me that unlike Microsoft and Apple, they're no friend to the cable guys, the hardware manufacturers or the telcos/mobile operators.
Why? It's really quite simple. When Google announced they will be merging Hangouts+, GoogleTalk and Google Messenger all into one, they created a direct threat to the operators (cable/telcos) small business market efforts by pre-empting the likes of BT, Telefonica, AT&T, Verizon, NTT, SingTel, etc. with a small business ready communications platform that all can be tied to Google Voice (find me, follow me, take my messages, send me text, etc.). While Apple has been supportive of their carrier partners (recall how they treated GoogleVoice for so long) Google simply uses them, learns from them (Android, search, ads) and then buries them in their wake. Microsoft, like Apple, has gone the other way, making the mobile operators their distribution partners, while not offering services that compete with them (well, Verizon's TerreMark and MSFT's Azure do and will.) No. With the new services, plus a stepped up GoogleTV effort, the Mountain View giant is hell bent on making the telcos and cable operators simply dumb pipes.
Ironically, as much as the mobile industry is majorly chagrined over what Apple did to them, one has to credit the Cupertino folks at basically building the mobile operators data business for them. On the other hand Google, with Android, simply road on their tracks, used their railway cars, figured out where the stops are along the way, and now is making devices that can deliver services that take a lot more away from the telcos than they give back.
Oh, and with the consolidation of rea-time communications services, timing wise, if I was an investment banker in on the RingCentral IPO I'd think twice, maybe three times about the implications.
Update-Pal Om Malik's post, on a similar theme is worth a read.