Google has acquired cloud communications company Jibe Mobile, Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 2006, Jibe bills itself as the Cloud Communications Company for mobile operators, handset manufacturers, and other communication networks, and provides an open end-to-end technology platform enabling carriers to rapidly launch and commercially scale innovative IP communication to mobile consumers globally.
The company supports various industry standards but it’s with RCS (rich communications services), a GSM Association system for the creation of inter-operator communication services based on IP multimedia subsystems where Jibe excels; if you’ve never heard of RCS before think the next generation of SMS/ TXT messaging complete with support for emoticons, location sharing, and exchanging files.
Jibe’s Cloud service is marketed specifically at phone carriers who need to support new standards, or as Jibe puts it: where ” traditional in-network platforms simply cannot evolve fast enough to keep carriers’ messaging services current and competitive against rapidly-evolving OTT services.”
Jibe Mobile customers include Sprint and leading European carriers Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, KPN, and SFR.
For Google the acquisition is about providing enhanced RCS support in Android, with Mike Dodd, Android RCS Software Engineer and Minister of Messaging stating on the Android Official Blog that Jibe will allow Google to work closer with players in the industry.
“Many leaders in the wireless industry have already put great work into laying the foundation for RCS, and we’ve heard from many of them that there are ways Android can help…we’re excited to team up with mobile operators, device makers and the rest of the Android ecosystem to support RCS standards and help accelerate their deployment in a more consistent way.”
It’s an interesting buy by Google in that it has several benefits, the main one being Google is now driving RCS adaptation at the time where tradition SMS services are in decline as web-based messaging slowly bleeds traffic away from the more legacy form of messaging; RCS gives SMS messaging similar support to web-based messaging but can RCS alone arrest the decline in the sector?
Along with the RCS driver, the Jibe team are joining Google, indicating (although not specifically said) that Google has just expanded its Cloud offering to specific services catering for mobile operators and related communications platforms; what demand is like in this space isn’t clear but given Jibe’s already impressive client list it’s a space that may present strong opportunities for Google going forward.
Prior to acquisition Jibe had raised $9.1 million over 2 rounds with one round coming from Vodafone Ventures.