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Does Google Need the gPhone?

Andrei Jezierski, a founder of consultancy i2 Partners in New York, e-mailed me this morning with a really interesting idea: He thinks that, perhaps, after threatening the wireless industry with its rumored gPhone project for months, Google may not even need to come out with that platform after all.

The reason why Google would have wanted to come out with the gPhone platform -- and to buy wireless spectrum -- in the first place was because the company felt that carriers and handset makers barred its applications from appearing on mobile handsets. Until now, only a select few of Google's apps have made it onto a handful of cell phones. That was bad news for Google, hoping to grow its advertising revenues through mobile search.

But that situation is changing rapidly. One example: Today, Motorola unveiled its catalogue of third-party software for its mobile phones. It will allow software developers that are part of its developer's program to peddle their wares directly to all Motorola phone users.

Another example: Sprint Nextel has recently announced it will build an open wireless network in close partnership with Google, which will provide many of its applications to the network's users. That's exactly the sort of an arrangement that Google has striven for in the first place.

Google is also enjoying an enthusiastic response to its recent wide release of advertising platform AdWords for mobile phones.

Bottom line: Without even unveiling the gPhone or bidding for the wireless spectrum, Google is already dramatically changing the wireless industry.

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