Amidst Google Lawsuits, Skyhook Sees Victories With App Developer Deals and Press on Privacy Concerns—And Isn’t Looking to be Acquired Just Yet
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data collected from its Android devices is opt-in and made anonymous has also been asked to testify at the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law hearing next Tuesday.
Skyhook’s technology collects user location data, but doesn’t connect the dots over time to show that locations came from a single device, and essentially a single user, Morgan says. Those privacy protection measures can be easier to lose track of for companies whose focus isn’t primarily on location services, Morgan says. Meanwhile, “these have always been very big topics in the location world,” he says, and Skyhook has been dealing with them since its inception in 2003. “For device makers who don’t want to get hauled down to DC, who do you work with?”
Given the attention surrounding location technology, recent acquisitions in the Boston area, and the resources required in the lawsuit, one might wonder if Skyhook will be the next Boston mobile startup to get acquired. Some outside observers have predicted Intel as a potential buyer, given Skyhook’s existing customer contracts with the chipmaker (and Intel’s relative lack of location technology). Qualcomm, TCS, Cisco, Microsoft, and Nokia might also be candidates, says Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, a Brookline, MA-based wireless/mobile consulting and advisory services firm.
“An acquisition would make sense,” Lowenstein said in an e-mail. “Skyhook has developed IP which complements existing location solutions, but the space is also complex as can be seen from the various lawsuits.”
What does Skyhook have to say about the possibility of getting acquired? “It’s not what we’re focused on right now,” Morgan says. The company is profitable, thanks to deals that place its technology into consumer devices like gaming systems (Sony) and chip-based devices like tablets, netbooks, and handsets (Intel). Morgan says we can also expect to see customer deals for the company in digital camera and e-book reader applications.
“The goal is to keep adding devices—get more units shipped and that’s how we get paid,” he says. “If we can keep doing that, I think there’s going to be a lot of options.”
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