James Allworth writes for The Harvard Business Review, “Google was surely celebrating recently when Gartner reported that Android handsets outshipped Apple’s iPhone by close to a 2:1 margin.”
MacDailyNews Take: For clarification, the report to which Allworth refers was an estimate from Canalys of the U.S. market only in Q3 2010: 9.1 million Android handsets vs. 5.5 million iPhones. This may well be the high water mark for Android as convincing reports of iPhone coming to Verizon have likely frozen the iPhone wannabe market significantly for this quarter and, when and if Verizon gets the iPhone, buyers won’t have to settle for fake iPhones any longer.
Allworth continues, “But Google may regret the strategic choices that have led to this victory over Apple. To achieve the “win,” Google may have unwittingly created and trained a mercenary army of hardware manufacturers, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder—whether that be Google, Baidu or Bing.”
“There is no doubt that Google understands the importance of the mobile web,” Allworth writes. “A large part of Google’s future will rely on advertising revenue driven by mobile devices, which is likely a key reason why Google decided to go into competition with its one-time ally, Apple… But Google might soon find the many third parties it has relied on to battle Apple have instead become a much greater threat than Apple ever was.”
“Baidu, the internet search engine that has successfully challenged Google for ownership of the Chinese market, has taken an even bolder approach. It’s reportedly in negotiations with a number of smartphone manufacturers to remove all references to Google, and replace them with Baidu,” Allworth reports. “Microsoft recently negotiated with Verizon that some of the Android phones that ship to Verizon customers will have Microsoft’s Bing, not Google, as the default search engine. And the manufacturers are getting in on the act too: Motorola recently released a new phone, the Citrus, based on Android, but shipping with Bing.”
Allworth writes, “Google is losing this fight. It’s a poorly kept secret that Google now has to pay Apple — and pay Apple a lot — to keep Google as the default search engine on the iPhone. It won’t be long before Google’s ‘allies’ in the Open Handset Alliance — the manufacturers making Android phones — realize that Google need them a lot more than they need Google.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: One is left wondering if Eric T. Mole thought this Android thing all the way through or if he did it the “Google way” – think it just about a quarter of the way through, quickly chuck it out there, and see what happens, perpetual-beta-style? The latter seems much more likely. Enjoy those U.S. Android sales figures next quarter when the fake iPhones are sitting next to real iPhones, Eric, you creepy bastage.