Qualcomm announced earlier today that it has acquired Israel’s iSkoot, a leader in “mobilizing internet services on the handsets most people use today”, for an undisclosed sum (rumored to be between $50-100 million).
iSkoot’s Kalaida™ Platform utilizes cloud computing to enable device manufacturers and mobile operators to bring popular social networks and new internet services to mobile handsets in a way that minimally impacts network and handset performance.
As part of Qualcomm Innovation Center, a Qualcomm subsidiary, iSkoot will focus on three areas: continued support of its current customers; integrating its offerings with Qualcomm’s products; ,and developing open source data management contributions for mobile devices.
With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, such as the iPad (the fastest-selling gadget of all time), the demand for such a service is huge and will continue to be with the release of new mobile devices and the launch of 4G networks in the U.S. and elsewhere. Qualcomm’s purchase of iSkoot indicates several things about the telecommunications industry and Israel:
- Considering the fast pace at which development in the mobile industry is moving right now and that the 4G space is still open to newcomers, several key players in mobile hardware and software, such as AT&T and Intel, have looked to Israel over the past few months to help them try to gain an edge.
- The acquisition is the latest in a string of Israeli startups getting acquired by major companies, including Google, AOL and Dell, this year. What impact these acquisitions will have on the growth of Israeli startups in the future is to be seen, though it currently doesn’t look good. Whatever the impact it has on Israel’s startup culture, it seems that considering this sale and the opening of new innovation centers here, the heart of the future of 4G and mobile communications is slowly becoming centered in Israel.
- According to Globes, iSkoot is the first Israeli company that Qualcomm, “the world’s largest supplier of mobile telephone processors and owner of the intellectual property for the CDMA protocol” has bought, though it has had a development center in Haifa since the mid-1990s. Given that AT&T, Qualcomm and Intel all have R&D centers in Israel, will Verizon look to Israel next?
Here’s a video of iSkoot’s Social Net app in action:
Image via yonghokim.