By Ingrid Lunden
According to a report from TechCrunch.com, Google parent company Alphabet is in advanced discussions to sell its Terra Bella satellite business — originally acquired as Skybox Imaging in 2014 — to Planet Labs. Alphabet also considered a sale to at least one other company, Monsanto’s Climate Corporation, for around $300 million.
Google originally acquired Skybox in 2014 in a $500 million transaction as part of a bigger strategy to get direct access to high-quality images and video shot from Skybox’s satellites.
According to the TechCrunch report, even if Google is bowing out of the race to control better mapping data for enterprise applications, there are others still hot on the trail. “Climate is talking to every single micro-satellite company in the valley,” one source told them about the Monsanto-owned digital agricultural company.
The Climate Corporation provides tools and a platform to measure and model weather, soil and field data to farmers to optimize their crop production. Getting a more direct source of imaging data, and more control of what is actually getting photographed and how, seems like a very logical strategy.