Google Buy Makes Sense, but so does Microsoft

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-05-28 Print this article Print


Currently, the service only works with RIM BlackBerry devices, but expect support for Apple's iPhone and phones based on Google's Android operating system later this year.

Were Google to own Rearden, porting to those apps would be a lot easier not to mention the fact that Google has confidently targeted mobile search and apps as its next big online ad frontier.

Other work would have to be done for a better fit with Google. The PA currently syncs with Microsoft Exchange Server and Lotus Domino, but doesn't yet work with Web-mail apps, such as Google's Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Dan Ford, vice president of product marketing for Rearden, said the company is working on that, particularly as it extends further into the consumer sphere.

AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson told eWEEK he wouldn't be surprised if Google picked up Rearden. He said the search vendor could sell the service outright to companies; seal OEM deals similar to the ones the company has inked with AmEx and Chase; have companies pay to use the Rearden channel; and sell ads against it.

Google doesn't usually sell services directly to businesses, but Google's ad partners could pay to place ads on the Rearden PA platform, creating another ad revenue stream for the search giant. The OEM and channel deals could complement the new freshet of ad-based revenue.

"This would be a logical buy for Google and it would scare the living daylights out of everyone having to do with travel or entertainment," Richardson said. "What would Microsoft pay to keep this away from Google?"   

Rearden Momentum Makes it a Target

Grady insisted he isn't interested in selling, not with all of the momentum Rearden has.

"We are maniacally focused on growing our ecosystem of users, partners, developers and merchants," Grady said. "Unquestionably, certain of today's largest Web properties would benefit from acquiring Rearden Commerce, but it's simply not our focus."

Fair enough, but as the saying in this business goes, never say never. Market conditions may compel Google to grab Rearden. Microsoft May 21 declared its intention to go for Google's jugular with its Live Search Cashback blend of search and e-commerce and the predictive travel-related service, Live Search Farecast.

If Microsoft starts to gain any ground in its search, expect Google to grab an e-commerce play with some meat. My money is on Rearden, but Google better act lest Microsoft beat it to the punch.



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