So TMCNet blogger Rich Tehrani says he has heard rumours that Google is going to acquire Sprint. This is a subject that others have raised as well, most often in connection with the much-hyped “Google phone” — which we now know isn’t a phone at all but an open platform. In other words, it’s even less likely that Google would buy Sprint than it was before.
That’s not likely to stifle the rumour mill, however. Why? I think it’s because Google has effectively become the saviour of everything. What was once a tiny company with a simple service that everyone used and/or liked has become a globe-spanning colossus with a market value bigger than the gross domestic product of a medium-sized country — and so the implication is that Google can do anything.
What people mean when they say Google should buy Sprint is “Sprint sucks.” When they say Google should come out with a phone, they mean “the cellular phone industry sucks.” Similarly, when they say Google should buy Yahoo, or Microsoft, or China, or whatever, that’s shorthand for “those things suck. Google would fix them.”
Would Google buying Sprint make any sense? Not really. Despite the attempt to compare it to Google buying YouTube or Google buying Keyhole (which became Google Earth), it would not be anything like either of those deals. Sprint Nextel is a gigantic conglomeration of telephone poles and legacy PBXes and customer-service desks and trucks and cable. Google needs that like a hole in the head.