Here’s one of the interesting back-stories of the Google Talk announcement. It’s the Global IP Sound (GIPS) stock prices.
Global IP Sound is the company behind the amazing sound that Skype has been able to achieve. Others have been trying to duplicate this for some time, and so far few have achieved it. DiamondWare, in fact, is the only company I am aware of that can provide comparable audio quality. In May I had a conversation with members of the MSN Messenger team in Redmond, who admitted to me at the time that they didn’t have the sound quality of Skype. A month ago (July) they licensed that code from Global IP Sound. Yahoo did too. Now Google has done the same. GIPS stock has just popped up to 18.50. The market certainly believes that GIPS is on its way to being the dominant sound player in the VoIP world with licensees like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft licensing their code.
Skype’s other claim to fame was that it just worked. Firewall traversal wasn’t an issue any more. Google has duplicated this. MSN has not, yet.
Skype is proprietary, Google is open protocols, and MSN is slowly moving toward SIP.
It looks to me like Google is gunning for Skype with everything that Skype has, but on an open platform. MSN will be hot on their tails.
As the old saying goes, we live in interesting times. It’s certainly exciting to watch the chess pieces rearranging themselves on this board.