Monday, June 14, 2010
Did Michael Robertson Pull One Over on Google?
Last year, I warned Google, eBay, Skype, or any other would-be buyers of Michael Robertson's Gizmo5 (SIPphone) company to make sure and do lots of due diligence before agreeing to any purchase. Having worked closely with Robertson, I wouldn't advise anyone to do business with him. Well, Google went ahead and moved forward and purchased Gizmo5. At the time, I made two predictions:
1) The SIPphone employee shareholders would be left pretty much empty handed, and
2) Google will end up with junk technology and do nothing with the acquisition.
Seems like both of my predictions may have already come true.
In speaking with one SIPphone shareholder, it seems he got next to nothing for his shares. No surprise there. Robertson has a history of taking all the chips off the table for himself.
Last week, TechCrunch reported that Google may have decided to nix a Gizmo-based softphone for Google Voice. The "official" explanation is that Google doesn't build desktop software (well, except for Chrome, Picassa, Google Earth, and a bunch of other apps), so it makes one wonder if Google just decided to pitch the Gizmo client overboard. I wouldn't be a bit surprised, particularly after they realized the spotty tech they likely acquired from Robertson. I'm guessing Google got a real eye opening when they realized the state of their acquisition. I am completley surprised that deal even happened, as Google is usually pretty smart about technical due diligence, but this time they may have had more dollars than sense.
The moral of this story? Don't do business with Michael Robertson, and if you do, don't trust anything he tells you, but if you do...don't say I didn't warn you.