San Diego’s Gizmo5 Reportedly Acquired by Google

11/9/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Gizmo5, which was rumored to be a Skype acquisition target for $50 million about three weeks ago, is now reported to have been sold—except the buyer is identified as Google, and the price is put at $30 million.

Both the Skype and Google reports were exclusives from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, who initially explained that Skype’s acquisition of Gizmo5 was the perfect backup plan in case Skype lost control of certain patents to its core technology that were the subject of lawsuits filed by Skype’s prospective buyers. Now Skype doesn’t really need Gizmo5, since eBay reached a comprehensive settlement with Skype’s founders last week. TechCrunch now says, citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the deal,” that Google has therefore stepped in to acquire Gizmo5.

Gizmo5, which was founded by Michael Robertson of MP3.com fame, provides free VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) software and related technology for making Internet-based phone calls. After seeing the TechCrunch account earlier today, I sent an e-mail to Robertson asking, “Can you confirm? Can you discuss?”

He replied by e-mail, saying, “No and no. Can’t comment on any rumors. Sorry.”

The deal could make sense. While Google Talk is among Google’s many free offerings, the on-line chatting service is not set up to call specific phone numbers, and both parties in a call must have the Google Talk client running for it to work. TechCrunch says, anyway, that the Gizmo5 acquisition would enable Google to combine Google Talk with Google Voice, the application it has been testing that allows users to have a single phone number that connects to a variety of features, including conference calls, phone call recording, and text messaging.

While Google was mum on the Gizmo5 report at the time of this writing, it did confirm one acquisition today, saying that it has agreed to pay $750 million to acquire AdMob, a mobile display ad technology provider based in San Mateo, CA. Wade offers his perspective and some reaction among Boston’s mobile ad startups to the deal here.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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