The Edge

Google Cloud acquires MobiledgeX, will make it open source

Google Cloud acquired MobiledgeX and will release the startup's edge computing software code into the open source community.

The news, first reported by TelecomTV, comes just months after MobiledgeX executives speculated on whether the company's offerings might be more effective among mobile network operators in an open source setting.

"Do our owners want us to be like a VMware-style enterprise software company that IPOs [has an initial public offering], or function more like a charitable foundation for the betterment of telecom, or something in between?" former MobiledgeX CEO Jason Hoffman told Light Reading in January. "We could be like Firefox and function as a non-profit foundation with a commercial arm, or like Chrome – open source but supported by Google. And at the extreme end there are more commercialized browsers like Opera. We do discuss all that stuff ad nauseam."

According to TelecomTV, Hoffman left MobiledgeX a week ago. He is now running a consulting practice, S8 Advisory Partners, with James Blom, who held a VP role at MobiledgeX.

Former MobiledgeX CEO Jason Hoffman (Source: MobiledgeX)
Former MobiledgeX CEO Jason Hoffman
(Source: MobiledgeX)

MobiledgeX was founded by Germany's Deutsche Telekom in 2018. Samsung and VMware led an investment round in the Silicon Valley startup in 2020, although Deutsche Telekom remained the controlling shareholder. MobiledgeX boasted work with 26 operators in total, including Telefónica, Orange, BT and Deutsche Telekom.

However, in January, Hoffman acknowledged that the company hadn't made inroads with the likes of Vodafone, AT&T or Verizon due to their tight edge computing relationships with the likes of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Indeed, Microsoft, AWS and Google are all loudly chasing cloud computing business in the telecom industry. They're doing so via a variety of strategies, including by selling edge computing services and technologies. The rise of these hyperscale cloud computing companies in the telecom market for edge computing has helped squeeze some smaller players out of the market. Light Reading recently reported that edge computing startup EdgeMicro entered liquidation.

Meanwhile, the bigger players that remain in the market are hoping that a focus on open source software will help entice telecom customers that are wary of shifting their networking operations into the cloud. For example, Google Cloud and the Linux Foundation recently announced that they would embark on a new project called Nephio. It will focus on automating the key processes associated with the onboarding and running of functions on a distributed telco cloud.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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