Analyzing Impacts of a Google Phone

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Everyone loves talking about Google (GOOG).  It has almost become the national sport.  So it is no wonder that the discussions are pointing again toward a Google phone of some sort.  There has been increased speculation stirring up again that Google is going to be creating a phone of its own, but opinions and thoughts on this are as varied as the potential consequences. 

Google has just increased its Google Talk abilities through R-I-M (RIMM) PDA’s and other devices, so who knows.  Almost all phones on the market now that have mobile web search capabilities already allow a Google Search to be conducted.  But they also allow other searches to be conducted as well.  There was a time before that it was speculated that Google was going to get into the PC-space, but it turned out that Google determined it could build its own machines for its own employees and came out and said it did not want to get into the hardware space.  Companies change and there have been some recent comments that would back this up, but the WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY & HOW scenarios on this are too much to calculate. 

Maybe they just license out the name.  Maybe they partner (Samsung already noted) with a manufacturer.  It would still be puzzling as to if Google would really want to go out and spend the necessary development funds on working out the logistics and innards of creating an actual phone of its own.  We’ll probably already know more by the weekend so stay tuned on this one.  We included some outside comments and links from sources we believe are not up anything besides covering the story.

CNBC’s Jim Goldman made note of this earlier and you can watch their video on this.

Gizmodo discussed the possibilities of this as well.

CEO Eric Schmidt has already said that he believes mobile phones should be free and that subsidies should increase.

Engadget just speculated on this last week.

GigaOM’s Om Malik already speculated on this back on December 17.

Another post from Simeons just showed some details on this last week as well.

Even CNET covered this and referred to Simeons.

One would also have to wonder if the company went into this space how other phone makers AND/OR carriers would treat the company if it went into the space and was started to be deemed as a competitor.  Apple hasn’t even gotten its iPhone out on the market yet and the space already has many leaders.  Nokia (NOK), Ericsson (ERIS), Motorola (MOT), Samsung, Palm (PALM), R-I-M (RIMM) would likely take some offensive and partner exclusively elsewhere if Google was going to be taking sales away from them rather than partnering with them on the content side.  Imagine if the carriers like Verizon (VZ), Sprint Nextel (S), Cingular (T), and others were all suddenly under seige. 

Google would likely do a more amicable integration than something outright competitive because phone makers or carriers would likely drop their friendly stance if this was going to bite into their revenue and income.  In the end, we won’t know about this until Google wants us to know or until the imminent release is leaked out.  You can say some of the reports already show pictures, point to executive discussions, and make many inferences on this.  Until there is something more concrete this is what lawyers would call "hearsay."

Jon C. Ogg
March 15, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.