It’s no surprise that Alphabet is interested in space. After all, Amazon.com, Virgin Group, Facebook, and Qualcomm, are among tech companies that have invested in the development of either rockets or satellites. Space offers another frontier for the information and communication that technology companies hold so dear — particularly Google.
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“Space-based applications like imaging satellites can help people more easily access important information, so we’re excited to support SpaceX’s growth as it develops new launch technologies,” said Don Harrison, Google’s vice president for corporate development, in a statement about the SpaceX investment, according to The New York Times.
And, notably, Harrison joined the board of SpaceX.
Based on Harrison’s statement, the origins of the company’s motivation for the investment was likely rooted in SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s announcement just before Google’s investment. Musk noted SpaceX would set out to build and deploy the world’s largest global communications systems via a network of hundreds of satellites.
“Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date,” Musk told Bloomberg last year.
And it’s worth noting that Alphabet’s SpaceX investment has likely already panned out to be a bargain. Now that SpaceX has proved it can successfully land one of its rockets after returning from space, and with the rocket company now aiming for a 70% rocket landing success rate during 2016 and planning to launch its Falcon Heavy later this year, it probably sports a much greater valuation in the private markets than it did when Google invested in it early last year.
My 2 cents:
SpaceX is a new frontier push in the literal and proverbial sense. Literally, Google has its eyes on space as the new communications frontier, proverbially, the push to space is a purpose-giving mission for Google to chase as an entity. Though satellite communication is hardly new, harnessing the ability to deploy, construct, operate and land one’s own space platform offers competitive advantage the likes of which are unparallel given current market conditions. Along with avoiding foreclosure, Google unleashes unparalleled potential and inaugurates and sets the rules of the new “privatized space” market.