VeriSign has snapped up wireless photo messaging firm, LightSurf Technologies for about $270 million. It is a strange acquisition for a company that is more known for its domain name registery than its other businesses, even if it has gotten rid of the pesky Network Solutions business. In case you don’t know, LightSurf is Philippe Kahn’s latest company. From what I understand is that VeriSign is trying to reshape itself into the middle man for the wireless and wireline networks. Mike very aptly puts it
Its core competence is managing those massive databases in the middle, that others have to go through to get anything done on the network. VeriSign’s CEO, Stratton Sclavos, refers to this as the “intelligent infrastructure” . If that sounds sort of like the opposite to David Isenberg’s “stupid network” you might get an idea where this is headed.
The company had bought Jamba last year, an acqusition that did not make sense at the time. It does now – selling ring-tones is big if unpredictable business; enabling the sale is more lucrative and stable way to earn a living. Multimedia messaging is precisely that kind of an opportunity – LightSurf is the premier infrastructure provider and many carriers use it. Ironically, Kahn told me that he had gone to Motorola with the idea for LightSurf and they passed on it. Remember Motorola bought his last company, Starfish Software, and in the end got rid of it after not doing much with it.