Another band has been tied between Silicon Valley and the land of vikings. Last night Google announced their acquisition of Swedish company Marratechs video conferencing software that allows many people to meet through audio, video, chatt, shared documents.
It created an immediate buzz.
At GigaOM, Om Malik notes that since Apple more than a year ago (and later Microsoft and Cisco) started to put cameras directly into their machines, the natural step is that videochatting becomes the next mainstreem thing. “Today communication is not just about email, instant messaging and voice. It also is about video,” he writes. Google sais that Marratech will be great for its own workplace, but Malik thinks that some of the Marratech functionality could end up in the Google Talk client.
He might be right. It seems to us that Google is competing with everybody nowadays. At VentureBeat Matt Marshall notes just that: “Microsoft has its own web conferencing software Live Meeting. Cisco, meanwhile, just acquired another major player in the industry, WebEx, for $3.2 billion. The difference, of course, is that Google paid pennies relative to what Cisco paid”, he writes.
Taking advantage of the fact that one of us writing here actually is Swedish, we tried to find out how much Google paid. Swedish business daily Dagens Industri reports the business to be worth more than 14 million dollars. It also writes that Marratechs yearly turnover is a few million Swedish krona (probably less than one million dollars) and that is has not made profit in several years. Swedish VC:s have invested in the company and the technology has its roots at he University of Technology at Lulea, far above the polar circle.
Matt Marshal also wonders when/if Marratech will be implemented into Google Talk.
Both Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim and Dan Farber at Between the Lines have looked into the technology and gives it big time thumbs up (check their blogs for nice charts!). Farber quotes a video conferencing comparative review in Network Computing from a year ago: “Marratech 6.0 scored well on our features evaluation, boasting high-quality audio and video over IP. In fact, in our evaluations of audio and video quality, Marratech led the pack;” it sais.
Peter Parnes, one af Marratechs founders, sais to Swedens National Newsagency TT that so far at most 500 people have meet through Marratech simultaniously.
Beal warns that there’s just no stopping Google. “Seriously, if you’ve bought into the idea that Google is not a threat to your business, it’s time to re-evaluate that position,” he states.
We said it yesterday and we say it again – we want one of those protein drinks they serve at Google too!
John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers
PS. Skype is a Swedish invention too!