We keep hearing Plaxo has signed a deal to sell the company. But is the buyer Google — where engineer Brad Fitzpatrick is buddy-buddy with Plaxo's Joseph Smarr? Or is it Comcast? The latter. Comcast, we're told, has bought Plaxo for $175 million in cash. While Plaxo has tried to reinvent itself as a social network, its still primarily used as an online address book. And that's the appeal to Comcast.
Plaxo already supplies Comcast with address-book functions for its Internet subscribers. But Comcast wants to sell packages of video, Internet access, and phone service, including wireless. To really hook customers, it wants to synchronize those services — so, for example, you might get a caller ID notice on your TV, with the name matched from your email address book, and reply with a text message. Too bad Plaxo's Pulse, the project Smarr has devoted so much time to, doesn't play much of a role in that scenario.