Google’s Android is not about creating a great mobile platform or devices

“Google is building Android not so they can make great mobile devices and sell them to consumers,” Kyle Baxter writes for TightWind. “Rather, they are making them for these two simple reasons: (1) to disrupt Apple’s growing dominance of mobile devices, both so Google doesn’t have to rely on Apple for access to their users and to eliminate their paid-for application model; and (2) so Google can control the mobile industry and thus secure advertising from it.”

“This helps explain some puzzling moves by Google. For example, Android’s market may not be terrible in comparison to Apple’s App Store for paid applications just because Google hasn’t yet finished it; rather, discouraging paid applications on the Android platform is in Google’s interest,” Baxter writes. “If users won’t pay for applications, what will developers use to make money from their applications? Advertising. And Google conveniently owns one of the largest mobile advertising providers, Admob.”

“Moreover, why would Google be so willing to empower network providers by giving them so much control over Android?” Baxter asks. “Because it means wider adoption of Android, and as more Android-based devices flood the market, the hardware manufacturers themselves are increasingly irrelevant. As Android spreads, and the differences between different devices decrease as a result, there will be less competitive differentiation between manufacturers—consumers will, like they do in the PC market, shop based more on price than on who makes the device. At that point, hardware will be commoditized, and building a mobile device business based on a different OS than Android will be incredibly difficult. Profit potential will shift from selling actual devices (where margins will be small) to providing services for those devices—quite convenient for Google, who’s in the business of making web services and providing advertising.”

Baxter writes, “Android isn’t an attempt to build the best mobile platform and sell it on its merits; it’s a play to control the vast majority of the mobile market, secure eyeballs for Google advertising and eliminate any threat to Google.”

Full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Moles like to burrow everywhere; insidious creatures.

[Attribution: Daring Fireball. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dave G.” for the heads up.]


  1. And as usual, gullible consumers everywhere lap it up despite its imperfections and justify their decision based on cost rather than functionality or that they do not want to be a follower (ie. Apple) but a rebel without a cause (or a clue)…or the best yet, that Apple factories exploit young chinese kids and pays them starvation wages and makes them work 30 hours a day).

  2. Yep. This makes a lot of sense. It is also a handicap because the products will always be second or third place.

    Like most industries, over time, there will be fewer and fewer players.

    Apple, as the innovator and the quality product should do well. I see a battle between Microsoft and Google over the second place position. Microsoft has a big disadvantage because their model requires them to charge for the software.

  3. Does this surprise anyone? I thought Google pretty much admitted that releasing Android was to stem the onslaught of Apple iOS devices and to secure there place on the handset for advertising and search?

  4. Unfortunately, it is not just that people do not understand, it is that they do not care. I believe that a large portion of people using mobile devices see them as just that – a device. For them, a smartphone is a smartphone and they really do not care to think about anything beyond that. Apple products appeal to this group, but they basically will lap up whatever is in front of them or is the cheapest, sometimes fixating on the marketing aspect of a particular feature (but this has a 8 MP camera instead of a 5 MP! Nevermind the chip or lens…).

    Smartphones ARE going to become a commodity and, while Google Android is certainly for that, this has more to do with the fact that mobile phones are commodity devices.

    Let us also not pretend that Apple is not engaging in some of the same ends (Ad $ and collecting aggregate information), though of course they start by designing great hardware and a great system.

  5. Its like designing a database, you need a broad solid foundation from the get go, you cant keep adding layer later on a shaky foundation. Apple does things methodically and with long term insight that is sound and unrivaled. Google cannot gain or attain Apple’s expertise, historical experience and skills, because they are not and engineering or real software company.

    Since the iPhone and it’s new mobile platform line of devices are far more than mere phones and are used comprehensively as personal computing devices that integrate seamlessly with all other personal computers and computing environments, it’s imperative to focus on the whole platform and it’s foundation. That means tight oversight, reliability and predictability.

    Enterprise, professional and mass adoption of Apple’s mobile devices will prevail, based on a track record that speaks for itself – Apple’s is solid and unrivaled.

  6. Giving away a stolen OS (IP) for free to undermine Apple is not significantly different from when Micro$oftopoly began giving away Internet Explorer to undermine Netscape’s navigator. It’s an anti-competitive bid to destroy the business model of another company, to control the development of the market space and to drive future business into their existing business streams.

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