This one comes trickling down the rumor mill courtesy of our friends at 9to5Mac.
Adding to the recent wave of purchases by the powers that be in Cupertino, now comes word that Apple may be interested in purchasing VoIP provider iCall for the ballpark price tag of between $50 and $60 million.
Here's why it makes sense... Google is building a VoIP phone that works with Google Voice and recent purchase Gizmo5, if rumors are to be believed. The Google phone would be free to move between networks and wouldn't be beholden to carriers' phone systems/voicemail, etc. It would just need data...from Wifi, WiMAX 3G or any other source.
For its long-term strategy, it makes sense for Apple to at least have a VoIP product available — even if only for defensive purposes, even if it never launches.
Is iCall the right fit for Apple? As one of the faster-growing VoIP calling platforms available today, it appears that Apple would be wise to make the purchase (assuming the rumors of a possible buy are even true) before that $50 to $60 million price tag inches even higher.
As data networks evolve, it will be possible to make calls as well over the Internet as by using a voice network, and cheaper. (It's already getting there.) And that's when Apple may seek to increase its control over iPhone owners — and recurring revenue from them — by becoming a VoIP service provider. Moreover, as that becomes a bigger industry, Apple should not give that business to Skype, Google, or anyone else.