Google Tops $700 on Wireless Talks With Verizon

Google's stock barreled through $700 for the first time Wednesday, propelled by a belief that


the Internet search leader will become even more profitable as it plants its products and services in new markets.

It took less than a month for the stock to leap from $600 to $700, building upon a fervor that has lifted Google's market value by more than 30 percent since mid-September.

During that 61/2-week stretch, Google has created an additional $53 billion in shareholder wealth. That dwarfs the total $41 billion market value of another Internet icon, Yahoo , which had a 4-year head start on Google.

Google is in active talks with number-two U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Wireless about putting Google applications on phones it offers, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

"There are good useful talks going on and they could result in a deal," one of the sources said.

So far talks between the Web search leader and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group , revolve around technology and potential business models such as advertising-sponsored services, one of the people said.

Verizon Communications Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl said during an investor call on Monday that the operator talks to a lot of companies including Google, but did not elaborate.

France Telecom on Tuesday denied its mobile business, Orange, was in talks with Google to introduce handsets running its software after it was named as a potential partner in a Wall Street Journal story earlier on Tuesday.

Google shares rose 2.3 percent on Tuesday to $694.77.

The recent rally has firmly established Google as Silicon Valley's most valuable publicly held company, supplanting Internet networking supplier Cisco Systems . With a market value of nearly $220 billion, Google also is now worth more than Warren Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway , whose steadfast refusal to split its stock during the past four decades has left its shares at nearly $130,000.

The Journal reported that Google was expected in two weeks to announce advanced software and services, enabling handset makers to sell Google-powered phones by mid-2008, citing people familiar with the matter. Google declined to comment.

Google has moved rapidly in the past year to extend its reach beyond text-based, pay-per-click Web search ads into a variety of new markets, including online video, television, radio and print advertising.

Google has also expanded into enterprise software, which has traditionally been Microsoft's domain.

According to the Journal, the Google-powered phones are expected to meld several of its applications, including Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail.

The ground-breaking part of the plan, according to the newspaper, is Google's aim to make the phone's software "open," right down to the operating system which controls applications and interacts with hardware.

This will grant independent software developers access to the tools they need to build phone features, the Journal said.