Google acquired Jibe Mobile, a provider of Rich Communications Services (RCS), for an undisclosed fee.
RCS is the GSMA-backed technology for advanced messaging services built on an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) backbone, including video calling, presence, photo sharing and enhanced messaging.
Having raised around $9 million in funding, Jibe claims to support RCS for a number of major mobile operators (including Deutsche Telekom, SFR, Sprint and Vodafone).
Mike Dodd, Google’s Android RCS software engineer, blogged that the deal is part of a wider commitment by the search giant to introduce RCS to the Android OS.
“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,” he said.
“We’re already working closely with many of our partners on implementing RCS, and look forward to growing the RCS ecosystem together,” he added.
Dodd acknowledged that deploying RCS on Android “will take time and collaboration throughout the wireless industry, but we’re excited to get started”.
Meanwhile, Jibe’s CEO, Amir Sarhangi, talked about the company’s brief history (it was set up in 2006): “In 2010, we foresaw the future of messaging and invested heavily in Rich Communications Services (RCS), the new standard that was being positioned as the evolution of SMS.”
”We then introduced the Jibe model to put carrier messaging in the cloud and flip the infrastructure business model upside down.”
Analyst Dean Bubley had a view on the motives behind the deal: “Like a lot of people, I was surprised by Google’s acquisition of RCS specialist Jibe Mobile yesterday”. He reckoned the search giant’s strategy is to turn RCS into “Android’s iMessage”. Bubley believes Google has three competitors in mind, “mostly Apple”, but also Microsoft and Twilio.