Is Google’s Android on the ropes?

“As you know, Android has some 70% [unit share] of the mobile handset market, so how could Google’s mobile platform possibly be in trouble?” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Isn’t it all about being number one, with a bullet or otherwise?”

“Google makes money from targeted ads, and a few services, such as the business version of Google Apps. Mobile handset makers license Android free of charge, and are evidently free to use it as they will. So you have situations where manufacturers will bury Android so deep, you hardly know it’s there,” Steinberg writes. “The most blatant example is Amazon, which pushes its own store and app ecosystem onto Kindle customers. Google Play? What’s that?”

Steinberg writes, “In terms of generating income, recent assessments I’ve seen, which I have no reason to dispute, claim that Microsoft earns more money from Android than Google due to patent licensing payments. Worse, the only handset maker outside of Apple to earn decent profits is Samsung, and it’s not that Samsung is showing Android the love… If Android fails to ultimately pay off for Google, despite the large market share, there’s nothing to stop them from just phasing out the platform. It wouldn’t be the first time, as users of Google Reader and other dying or dead Google services know full well.”

Read more in the full article here.

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    1. And as an extension of that, what would you rather have, 70% profit based on 70% market share, or 70% based on 30% or so market share?

      Apple make most of the money, but they make it in the most efficient way – by selling to a profitable subset of customers who can afford to pay for products, and who buy more stuff subsequently.

      1. As an extension of that . . .
        As a consumer, would you rather spend your money on an OS is so bad that they have to give it away or one where quality is the top priority and sweat out every detail?

    1. @evil – I have heard rumors that Google is re-doing Android and will make a LOT more like Chrome. 

      So Google may always give the name Android to its OS, but it might not be compatible with or comparable to the Android that people are using today.

      1. all they need is the Android API stack and they can do anything with it OS wise.

        the software stack to run android applications is portable. Look at the bluestacks player which allows Android software to run on desktops and other oses.

  1. Apple could releases a modified version of Android that aggressively removes all Google related services, uses Apple Maps and iAd, and funnels all search data through Siri before handing off to some non-Google search engine, like DuckDuckGo.
    Ha ha! Jk.

  2. The only thing that is dying if not already dead are dumb phones. If any thing phone makers are adding to their ranks of smart phones by introducing mid range and entry level smartphones. Not only android powered devices but also Windows and Blackberry that will come out with their own lower tier models later this year.

  3. Android is open source and the cat is out of the bag.

    Google could end android tomorrow and it would not change the fact that mobile operating systems will continue to be built on android.

  4. Steinberg uses wishful speculation to jump to an absurd conclusion.

    Android, the world’s most prolific OS, isn’t going anywhere because it feeds DATA to Google. That is most important than the estimated $2.75 profit per Android handset per year Asymco estimated that Google made on mobile search & ad revenue.

    Needless to say, once Google has enough users addicted, it will take more than just people’s data.

    Apple would be wise to defend its market share with multiple handsets at competitive price points and advertise the security risks that Android offers users.

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