I recently spoke at some length with John Guidon, the co-founder of Row44, the company that is emerging as a major competitor to Aircell in the business of supplying in-flight Wi-Fi service on airplanes. Southwest Airlines has been testing Row44’s satellite-based system on four of its 737s all year, and is expected to decide this fall whether to roll out Wi-Fi on all of its fleet. Alaska Airlines has also tested Row44 on a single aircraft. Aircell, meanwhile, has installed its Gogo system — a land-tower based technology — on nearly 500 airplanes, including all of AirTran’s and Virgin America’s fleets, with Delta’s mainline domestic fleets to be fully equipped by late September. American, US Airways and United are also installing Gogo.
Guidon’s background is in satellite, digital communications and internet technology. He’s also a private pilot. His technology career included consulting on airborne electronics for Marconi Space and Defense Systems, then as an engineer for Litton, where he was responsible for navigation elements still used in aircraft today. He founded the microelectronics consultancy GME, which he took to $20 million in annual sales and, after 10 years, recast as chip-maker ComCore Semiconductor, which he sold to National Semiconductor for $150 million.
to read the interview, visit: http://boardingarea.com/blogs/joesharkey/2009/08/07/interview-with-row44s-chief-john-guidon/
Row44, based in Westlake Village, Calif., this week received its permanent operating license from the Federal Communications Commission.