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Google signals Android commitment to RCS with Jibe acquisition

jibe screens 2

Rich Communications Services (RCS) specialist Jibe will be incorporated into the Android team at Google, indicating a major push to promote the messaging technology.

RCS has been touted as the next big thing in messaging for a few years now, without making much of a mainstream impact. At MWC earlier this year a bunch of operators teamed up with Jibe to promote RCS as messaging for the IP era, but it has tended to get lost in a sea of OTT messaging apps and services.

Google’s move has the potential to give RCS the leg-up it apparently needs. With an Android installed base of over 1.4 billion at its disposal, as well as relationships with most major handset makers and global operators, Google is arguably the most powerful company in the world when it comes to pushing new mobile technology. Apple, of course, has its own plans in this area and its iMessage service is not compatible with RCS.

“RCS is a new standard for carrier messaging and brings many of the features that people now expect from mobile messaging, such as group chats, high res photos and more,” blogged Android engineer Mike Dodd. “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.

“As part of this commitment, we’re also very excited to announce that the Jibe Mobile team is joining Google to help us bring RCS to a global audience. Jibe is a leading provider of RCS services and they’ll continue helping carriers easily deploy RCS to their users. We can’t wait to work with them and build on the great work that they’ve already done.”

“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,” wrote Jibe CEO Amir Sarhangi. “We then introduced the Jibe model to put carrier messaging in the cloud and flip the infrastructure business model upside down.”

“At times we have been seen as mavericks as we try to balance the need to stay competitive by running ahead versus making sure we build industry consensus. But one could argue that this is exactly what the industry has needed. Our persistent position has gradually been vindicated, first by our customers – who in every way deserve credit for our success – and now by Google’s belief in and commitment to us. We promise to stay true to our roots, and keep building great products for our customers.”

The terms of the acquisition haven’t been disclosed, but the cost is likely to have been in the low tens of millions. Google hasn’t offered any futher details on its plans for RCS but it seems safe to assume it will be actively pushing the technology to the massive Android ecosystem, as well as presumably working with the GSMA’s Joyn initiative.


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