Google and Skype Are Friends?!

Google, Skype and two vc firms have just announced they'd invested into FON, a worldwide Wi-Fi network with ambitious plans. What's surprising about this announcement is that Google and Skype (and its owner, eBay) -- who increasingly clash on everything from VoIP to classifieds, are banding together. Could this be indicative of a closer relationship between the two companies?
Olga Kharif

On Feb. 6, Skype, Google and two well-known vc firms announced that they will jointly invest $21 million into a start-up called FON. FON is, essentially, trying to do what a number of earlier upstarts had failed at -- monetizing on offering Wi-Fi services. FON's idea is simple: It's inviting people with home Wi-Fi networks to participate in its Wi-Fi hotspot sharing program. If you allow other members to hook onto your home Wi-Fi network, you can use all of FON's hotspots -- and FON expects to have some 1 million of those by 2010 -- for free. Where the money is made is in co-called "alien" memberships, where people who don't own Wi-Fi networks pay to use FON.

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