Friday, January 22, 2021

Google cancels Project Loon

Google is saying goodbye to Project Loon, its long-running effort to bring broadband connectivity to rural areas via free-floating balloons. The moonshot project launched in 2013 with a mission to deliver Internet access to "all the world's people" including remote locations on every continent." 

In a blog posting, Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon, said the company simply did not find a way "to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business."

Among the Loon team's achievements was discovering a way to fly a lighter-than-air vehicle for hundreds of days in the stratosphere. The team built systems to launch its balloons and developed a communications system capable of delivering mobile internet coverage over an 11,000 square kilometer area — 200x that of an average cell tower.


HAPSMobile completes first stratospheric flight with Loon payload

 HAPSMobile, a start-up backed by SoftBank with minority investment by AeroVironment, reached an altitude of 62,500 feet (approximately 19 kilometers) during the fifth test flight for “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”) designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems. The test flight, which took place on September 21, 2020 (MT) at Spaceport America in New Mexico, lasted a total 20 hours and 16 minutes,...

Loon enters commercial service in Kenya

Alphabet's Loon division began providing broadband service via balloon to subscribers of Telkom Kenya. The service footprint spans nearly 50,000 square kilometers across western and central parts of Kenya, including the areas of Iten, Eldoret, Baringo, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, and Narok. Loon is using a fleet of around 35 or more separate balloons circulating in the stratosphere. The company is aiming to add balloons over...

Google's Loon balloons working with AT&T

Google's Loon balloon initiative, which has undergone limited field deployments in Puerto Rico and Peru, is working with AT&T and its global partners to extend its reach to new markets. Specifically, Loon is looking to leverage the AT&T network to expands the number of operators around the world that Loon can work with without having to complete time-intensive network integration for each one. The collaboration is expected to save valuable...

Google Loon to fly over the Peruvian Amazon

Peru is likely to be the first country in Latin America in which the "Loon" Internet-via-balloon service will operate Specifically, Loon and Internet para Todos Per├║ (IpT) have reached an agreement to use high-altitude balloons to expand mobile internet access to parts of the Peruvian Amazonia. The companies aim to provide service to Telef├│nica customers in Peru in 2020. Loon, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, uses...

SoftBank looks to solar-powered aircraft, partnership with Google Loon

SoftBank is launching a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business through HAPSMobile, a joint venture between SoftBank and US-based company AeroVironment. HAPSMobile has developed an unmanned aircraft called “HAWK30 that will serve as a telecommunications platform at altitudes of approximately 20 kilometers. The aircraft will function like telecommunication base stations to deliver connectivity across wide areas. The “HAWK30” unmanned aircraft...


Citrix to acquire Wrike for $2.25 billion - SaaS work management software

Citrix Systems agreed to acquire Wrike, a start-up offering SaaS-based collaborative work management tools, for $2.25 billion in cash. 

Wrike, which is based in San Jose, California, helps teams and distributed workers to plan, manage and efficiently complete work tasks at scale. The company claims 18,000 customers globally. Wrike is expected to have approximately 30 percent stand-alone growth to between $180 million and $190 million in unaudited SaaS annualized recurring revenue (ARR1) in 2021. Wrike has over 1,000 employees.

Citrix said the combined company will offer customers an enhanced value proposition through complementary solutions, unlocking new revenue opportunities both within existing installed customer bases and new lines of business buying centers, including marketing, professional services, and HR. Together, Citrix and Wrike will serve over 400,000 customers across 140 countries. In addition, upon closing, Wrike will gain access to Citrix’s robust ecosystem of partners, creating new opportunities within the ecosystem to drive additional value for customers.

“Work today is happening everywhere – at home, in the office and on the road. We believe that in the future, success will go to those companies that can support flexible and hybrid work models and provide a consistent, secure and efficient experience that removes the complexity and noise from work so employees can focus and perform at their best, wherever they happen to be,” said David Henshall, President and CEO, Citrix. “Together, Citrix and Wrike will deliver the solutions needed to power a cloud-delivered digital workspace experience that enables teams to securely access the resources and tools they need to collaborate and get work done in the most efficient and effective way possible across any channel, device or location.”

“When it comes to the future of work, Citrix and Wrike share a common vision and mission: to reduce the complexity and chaos of work and empower every person, team, and organization to achieve their very best. Together, we will unlock the workspace of the future, truly transforming the work experience and equipping people with an innovative set of solutions they can use to exceed goals and keep business moving forward,” said Andrew Filev, Founder and CEO, Wrike.

Citrix expects to fund the transaction with a combination of new debt and existing cash and investments.