Google released a press statement that it was buying public wi-fi provider ICOA for $400 million and for two hours that story was true.
The press release was posted on this wire, however, when hacks came to follow up the release they were a little surprised to discover that ICOA executives denied it.
ICOA Chief Executive George Strouthopoulos, meanwhile, told CNET that the company has “never had any discussions with any potential acquirers”.
He thought that the rumour was put out by a stock promoter with a dubious interest. This person was spreading wrong, false and misleading info in the PR circles. He said that he was reporting this to the proper authorities.
ICOA’s services power wi-fi hotspots at public locations such as airports and restaurants. It is also big on “back office solutions” for hotspot operators and wireless service providers. In total, it owns wi-fi installations in 30 states.
As the press release suggested, the deal made a good fit with Google. It said that Google wanted to “further diversify [its] already impressive portfolio of companies”.
Hacks who ran the story failed to notice that it was full of typos. Sometimes you can’t tell your seamless from your seemless or your paradigm from your pairodimes.
On the whole it seems a likely hoax. Google has been interested in wi-fi infrastructure in the past and has been connecting homes in Kansas City to its Google Fiber broadband network.
Adding more networks could boost Google’s ability to do all that.