What’s Next for Skyhook Wireless? Location Tech for Games, E-Books, and, Yes, Android Phones

3/16/11Follow @gthuang

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gets paid per unit once its software is installed. For now, the company’s business is divided roughly equally between the U.S. and international markets, Morgan says. And the number of mobile-phone handsets—about a billion worldwide—is roughly equal to the number of other devices that could be location-enabled. So it sounds like the company’s future isn’t overly tied to any one platform (like Android) or device (like the iPhone).

But as Skyhook goes, so will other mobile software startups. As Morgan puts it, the entrepreneur playbook is to “find a big market, create something valuable, and protect it. We did all those. The model would say we should be able to benefit from all the hard work.”

He sums up the broader significance of Skyhook’s struggle with Google as follows: “The future of entrepreneurship is really at stake. That whole [mobile] platform war is going to get worse. We’ll see if the industry believes in innovation coming from small companies.”

The Skyhook story is, of course, particularly poignant to Morgan and the New England tech community. “A Boston company invented a model of technology that is going to be used on every single computing device in the world,” he says. “Whether we can get people to use our stuff and pay for it is up to us.”

I hate to be overly dramatic, but hearing Morgan talk in this way reminded me a little of what Leonidas, the Spartan king in “300,” said when he stood up to Persian king Xerxes and his immense advancing army: “The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant. That few stood against many. And, before this battle was over, that even a god-king can bleed.”

Let’s see if things turn out better for Skyhook than they did for the Spartans.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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