GIPS – once GlobalIP Sound goes to Google. Skype and Strategy

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May 19, 2010

in Skype + VoIP, Skype Journal, VoIP

GIPS sells out to Google! Congrats to my friends at GIPS and to Andy and the Comunicano team for he’s been part of a successful exit yet again. What will Google do with it? We don’t know yet. Will it be embedded into Android? What’s the impact re video? What will be the impact on their customers? All interesting questions and deserving of conversation whether at Skype, Google, or Cisco a customer etc.

However, while there is plenty of “clapping” I’ll admit I had another thought. When a company sells out it is game over. In the tech industry often investors can get their money out or is that back. Still this aspect wasn’t my central reflection. You see my first experience and knowledge of Gips happened when Skype first launched. I wanted to know what made Skype “sound” so good. Gips was in the news. Wide-band audio was in the news. A little digging and you could learn many things about “speech” and “jitter” and “buffers” and how tough it was to make those conversations crystal clear.

Skype’s success made GIPS visible to the world. GIPS was integral to Skype’s crystal clear sound – as if you were there.  Yet Gips the company never sold out for billions. They were never really full partners with Skype. Their licensing model was extended to many other wannabe clients over time while Skype moved on buying and then further developing their own codec which more recently they open sourced.

The people at Gips should be proud. They pioneered and helped to change the world of communications. Yet I can’t help thinking that “strategically” they had a bigger and better option back in 2003. Why was it impossible for them to envision being “Skype”? Or later why weren’t they bought out by Skype? We know it’s hard to “see” audio and it’s taken almost 10 years for HD to get traction. With Google and Android it will now come to mobile and tip over the next few years. Google we presume is also getting a world class engineering team as part of the deal. Again we live in hope that real-advancements might be made. Examples “open channels – always-on”, spacial and positioning sound, put the Q or quality back into music – hi fidelity. It would be nice if Google became more than just talk or voice.

Note: What Skype did was P2P (infrastructure cost saving) and broke through firewalls. This is a different engineering problem to what GIPS was trying to solve. No doubt Skype was a plausible partner at the time. Yet Gips was the bigger company in early 2003.

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