“As China edges past the U.S. as the world’s largest smartphone market, the rise of the Android mobile operating system should be a huge success story for Google, which developed and maintains Android,” Jessica Leber reports for MIT Technology Review. “”
“In China, cheaper Android devices have exploded past Apple’s phones in the last three years, and now account for more than three-quarters of shipments,” Leber reports. “But what’s often overlooked is how little Google itself is benefiting from Android’s growth in China. Most Android devices sold in China have been stripped of Google’s advertising-supported apps and services, as well as its Google Play store for third-party apps and music, books, and video. That means the devices are missing the two main ways by which the U.S. Web giant brings in revenue from the free Android operating system. The CEO of Baidu, the desktop Web search leader in China, said this year that 80 percent of Android-branded phones come with Baidu’s search service, rather than Google’s, loaded on the device… [Google] significantly scale[d] back its operations in 2010 when it took its search business out of the country in a stand against the Chinese government’s censorship.”
Leber reports, “Because Google no longer has servers in China, Google Play and Google Web search aren’t particularly useful to people there. Google Play suffers from bad connectivity, and the Web search is routed through Hong Kong… And its mobile mapping service has fallen from popularity in part because the service is poor and has been infrequently updated while Google has been waiting for the Chinese government to approve a necessary license. That’s in stark contrast to Apple, which tightly controls its devices—and hasn’t battled with the Chinese government over censorship. It was able to simply remove Google Maps from its phones in China in favor of its own new map service, just as it did elsewhere around the world this year.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s okay to take a principled stand against censorship and it’s also okay to steal patented intellectual property and churn out knockoffs of iconic products created by a former close partner upon whose Board of Directors your CEO once sat.
Ah, the curious dichotomy of doing no evil.