Google to Gobble Sprint? Say it Aint So!

News Analysis: How do you know when greed is not good? When the latest rumors say Google wants to buy Sprint.

When Sprint Nextel and Clearwire announced Nov. 9 that they were abandoning their WiMax partnership, many people speculated that Clearwire might pick up with Google.

After all, the search vendor has demonstrated quite the wireless itch of late, with its mobile social networking purchases and Android platform.

But by the time the weekend rolled around, the rumors bubbled over, the blogosphere lost its head and some industry watchers claimed Google could go for Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless network carrier with a $45 billion market capitalization.

A Google acquisition of Sprint could be disastrous for a company that has worked so hard to build up its search and online advertising business, according to analysts.


Click here to read more about Googles Android platform.

"It would probably be suicidal," said Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle, noting that the cultural differences alone would be a never-ending nightmare that would recall such disastrous past mergers of AT&T and NCR or IBM and ROLM.

Google, of Mountain View, Calif., is a high-tech company for the new millennium, relying on bringing people Internet content to make money. Sprint, of Reston, Va., is an old-line nuts and guts phone carrier looking to build a wireless network.

Yes, Google is looking to build out its wireless services so that it might target the mobile user with advertising, and, yes, Google and Sprint are already partnered to provide WiMax services. These factors alone might make a merger between the search giant and Sprint look like a Reeses peanut butter cup by comparison.

However, these companies appear to be heading off to separate poles. Google is stable, soaring high on the wings of a $200 billion market cap; Sprint is in flux in the wake of the loss of its Clearwire WiMax deal and the departure of its CEO.

Further complicating the cake mix is that Sprint is also part of the newly-announced Open Handset Alliance, or OHA, an initiative to build an open mobile ecosystem around Googles Android platform.

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