Techcrunch just covered the possibility that Google is looking to buy YouTube for $1.6 billion.
I think this acquisition makes a lot of sense. While it was pointed out that Google would be unafraid of the copyright issues, I think another reason why the acquisition is a safe bet is that Google can support the infrastructure and bandwidth costs. Owning YouTube would not be a significant strain on a company’s hardware resources. Seeing as Google seems to have a genuine interest in the video market, signified by the presence of Google Video — which was NOT a free-time-project-gone-gold — I’d say this acquisition has a lot of potential to be true.
If the future of the web is in streaming media, owning the current #1 player would be the smartest way for Google to maintain their edge. What’s surprising is how little speculation there was of this acquisition until this post. It seems like a completely random shot in the dark.
I will say that the acquisition doesn’t sit right with me 100%. Google is not a content provider, and owning YouTube and investing $1.6 billion dollars pretty much guarantees they MUST focus on being a content provider as well as an ad broker. Perhaps they’re starting to realize that in order to keep Microsoft off their toes they need to own some of the content as well? Of course, then they’d be competing with AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN for content, but having YouTube certainly would help in that race.
Of course, this all assumes the rumor has any substance.