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Apple rumored to be buying VoIP provider iCall

updated 01:55 pm EST, Fri December 11, 2009

Deal estimated to be worth $50 to $60 million

Apple may be ready to buy VoIP business iCall, claims a source in contact with Silicon Alley Insider. In addition to featuring a Windows client, iCall also provides VoIP services through an iPhone app and a limited web client. Apple and iCall are allegedly already in talks, working on a deal estimated to be worth $50 to $60 million.

iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert has refused to confirm or deny the existence of negotiations. It is not certain why Apple would buy VoIP technology, as it is currently linked to a number of cellular carriers which might object if it provided an alternative to iPhone plans. The company could be looking to take a greater share of revenue from iPhone owners however, or simply quash competition. It may alternately be looking to futureproof itself and/or gain the "iCall" trademark.

Apple recently confirmed the acquisition of Lala, a service that offers music streaming via the web. The worth of the deal remains unknown. Corporations like Apple are known to engage in buying sprees during recessions, taking advantage of weakened values to build their own portfolios.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. fanboy2009alpha

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -4

    Smart for many reasons

    I'd buy phone service from Apple in a heartbeat but I would bet that this purchase is more about what iCall has that Google wants that Apple doesn't want Google to have... A little digging gives us this patent dating back to January 2006 that covers advertising based on telephony data.

    Thing Google might be planning to run ads based on how you use their phone service?

    This is a link to iCall's patent.

    http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=05KiAAAAEBAJ&dq=System,+method+and+computer+program+product+for+extracting+user+profiles+and+habits+based+on+speech+recognition+and+calling+history+for+telephone+system+advertising

    If Google was smart they would swoop in and steal iCall out from under Steve-o-rino before he sues Google the same way he's suing Nokia today.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Alternatively

    Rather than just a name buyout, unlikely as it probably is, Apple could make an iPodTouch with a mic and earpiece built-in. Think of it as a home phone (or area with public Wi-Fi phone) that also happens to play your media and gives you web and app access.

    I know, despite the limitations of not being able to call just anywhere, it'd have cellular providers screaming. I person can dream, though.

  1. Haroscarfel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    home phone!

    dan, this idea is great. ive been using skype but its not that good for this purpose.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    A good backup....

    If apple ever wanted to axe the current device-carrier-user model, this could be a way to do it, while still selling massive amounts of iPhones... You could lease access to carriers, be it cell or sat etc, fall back to wifi, while still having your traditional DCU model.... Just an idea.

    - A

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