Google’s Android platform is unraveling

“This has been a telling week for Google and its dominant Android platform. Google may have won a couple of battles this week, like unloading Motorola’s handset business and signing a patent deal with Samsung, but it also became clear that Google’s Android empire is unraveling,” Nancy Gohring writes for CITEworld.

“Just this morning ABI Research reported that forked Android products, meaning those that don’t include Google’s services, accounted for 25 percent of Android smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter. For those phones, Google does all the hard work developing a phone OS but gets nothing in return,” Gohring writes. “With Samsung’s increasingly dominant position in the Android world, there’s little reason for it to bow to Google’s wishes.”

“The week did see a bit of a detente between Samsung and Google. On Sunday, Google and Samsung said they’d signed a ten-year cross licensing deal. Re/code also reports that Samsung agreed to put its own UI in the background and do more to highlight Google’s apps… [But] Samsung will again eventually wander away from Google. At the same time, the percentage of forked Android devices, like Amazon’s Kindle is likely to grow,” Gohring writes. “The result is that despite its best efforts, Google will continue to cede control of Android to others who have figured out a way to piggyback on Android for their own profit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Samsung will ink a deal with you and then stab you in the back with the pen.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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36 Comments

      1. Have no fear. Betting on the village idiots is never a good plan. I’m going to just sit back and enjoy the show as Google itself unravels. And Amazon. And Samsung. And…

        Oasis in the storm: Apple; The same as it was in the last storm.

        1. Apple will not be immune. In the last tech bubble burst, Apple had been at around $30 per share went to under $10, even though it hadn’t really been part of the bubble.

          1. I know what you mean. But on the other hand, that example is just the same old herd behavior without reference to reality.

            Now if Apple really jumped the shark, I’d point it out and be worried. At this point, all I’m seeing is more Apple Bear Bullshit. It’s wrong, it’s boring, and it continues to stink.

  1. Very interesting. Will MS Surface win out as the 2nd major player ultimately?

    I think it may, unless Google decides to do like Apple and become a major hardware company, yet they just sold their hardware, so it is not likely.

    Tizen and other forks and underdogs are shooting to take share with their own hardware for integrated solutions (ala Apple) and don’t care what Google thinks or wants. Not a good sign for Google.

    Meanwhile, Apple is aimed at more than a handset. They are aiming at commerce systems.

    1. No, because Microsoft can never price Surface to beat the iPad and the Surface is simply an inferior tablet experience. Microsoft wants it to be a laptop/tablet/primary workstation device, and that means too many compromises to be good an any one.

      Android is the competition to Apple, but fortunately for Apple, Google has made Android open-source. What this really means is that more and more splintering of the Android platform will occur, making it more and more difficult for developers to create apps that work on all the various flavors of Android, the different hardware configurations, and the different proprietary software crap companies like Samsung put on their devices.

      What it means is that eventually people will not want to put up with apps that don’t work well on Android, and they’ll flock more and more to the iPhone because it is elegant, it works, and they don’t have security problems (which will also grow exponentially in the next 1-3 years).

      1. People have been using Windows for years, with the same compromises. Most people just expect that to be the norm, and unfortunately, the same is true for Android. They just turn a blind eye to the ugly side and swallow.

        1. You may be right, but the situation is not the same. MS kept a tight leash on Windows. It was the same everywhere except for the hardware and drivers. In the case of Android the various players are making serious modifications to the OS so that there are many varieties with varying degrees of incompatibility.

  2. Attempting to “integrate” their copying of Apple, to better match Apple’s intrinsic hardware/software integration. But Google and Samsung each have their own opposing agendas…

  3. From the linked article: “With Samsung’s increasingly dominant position in the Android world, there’s little reason for it to bow to Google’s wishes.”

    This statement is patently false in that Samsung does not have any replacement for the very necessary Google Maps or many other Google services. I have read recently of Google successfully winning a disagreement over software add ons to a mobile product by threatening to withhold maps, etc., if Samsung didn’t cooperate. Android is free for the taking but all the other Google service apps require a (free) license so Samsung, if it wants to offer a fully functional mobile device, has to kowtow to Google or develop its own extensive suite of service apps, which I doubt it can do anytime soon.

    Google will not make itself popular by enforcing its will this way but trying to do so may be necessary to prevent terminal Android fragmentation. Also such a posture would encourage further the development of Android and Google services alternatives.

    So, although the article is inaccurate in a basic premise, the idea that Google is having trouble holding things Android together has validity.

    1. Another more realistic take. With Google and Samsung now cooperating and sharing patents, it is not unlikely that a merger could occur in a decade or less. Apple proved the power of vertical integration. MS is steadily moving toward a vertically intregrated product in mobile and tablets. Google tried with Motorola and failed only because Samsung was more nimble, with better hardware options that outsold everything Google released itself. So effectively, Google is partnering with Samsung and my prediction is that all other Android handset makers will be relegated to second-class support. GooSung now has its sights set on Apple instead of maintaining one eye on each other. Cook would be wise to get more hardware options to market, and kick google search to the curb once and for all.

      http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/01/nuclear-stand-down-google-samsung-and-the-sale-of-motorola-mobility/

      1. Samsung and Google will never merge. This “cooperation” is simply two companies being forced to agree to use each other’s stuff, nothing more.

        Samsung wants nothing to do with working with other companies. It wants to build everything itself, and takes what it can, when it can, regardless of who actually owns it. Samsung is the world’s biggest leech, sucking what it wants from other companies and incorporating it into itself like it actually created it.

        Samsung will die in the mobile devices arena when it suffers a massive security breach, sufficient enough to scare consumers away from its products. That, frankly, would have to be something horrific, even for us iPhone users who would be unaffected, because it would affect innocent people.

        The only other option is that Apple goes literally nuclear and simply removes Samsung from the planet. But Apple’s not that evil, and would rather just beat the pants off Samsung in the market.

      2. I like your long term forward thinking and, in pursuit of vertical integration, there could be a merger some day. But I doubt it. The only thing the companies have in common are loose morals/ethics and a cavalier attitude toward legal niceties. A merger would likely happen only if one or both companies are in severe business decline, which I don’t see happening in your time frame, although it’s possible. Would the Korean government let Samsung loose it’s Korean identity? Not likely given that it’s their most important business entity. Would Samsung want to be subject to American securities laws and the scrutiny of American prosecutors and courts? No. Would Samsung’s Chairman, or his successor, or Page and Brin give up control of their babies and have to deal with people with a completely different culture who don’t know anything about their business? I doubt it.

        Neither Samsung’s or Google’s patents have been worth anything in court over many years and many cases. They have not won or lost every suit so far. I read someone characterize the patent detent between the two companies as, “If you can’t beat them, make them look bad.” I agree. Samsung and Google are trying to say to Apple and Microsoft and all the other parties suing them: See, we can get along; why can’t you? Nice try. The agreement is probably more PR than anything and is unlikely to portend a merger.

        But I would be cool if it did happen because it would be a sign of deep problems in one or more likely both companies.

  4. How this surprises anyone I fail to understand. Google released android into the world basically screaming ‘take it, it’s yours!’. So, gee, no wonder it’s being seen on $50 ‘feature’ phones and $600 iPhone wannabes, with nary a wave or a turn.

  5. Nothing wrong with forking android. That is how opwn source works.

    A lot of manufacturers build their own layer.

    All google needs is customers who seek out their gApps and it becomes irrelevent if maps shipped on the device.

    Anyone using Android has seen the change that Google has embraced. They aren’t pushing major updates via Android itself now, instead the big changes are being pushed via Google’s own software platform on top of Android.

  6. Bullshit *spin* rhetoric:
    Google may have won a couple of battles this week, like unloading Motorola’s handset business

    Right. That was QUITE a ‘WIN’. Stupid Google lost $BILLIONS on that blunder. Your ass-holiness is showing Nancy Gohring who writes for CITEworld. Of should I say ‘glass-holiness’? Please keep your excrement to yourself.

    1. and signing a patent deal with Samsung

      That was a simple act of DESPERATION, two parasites knowing the jig is up. They’re pretending that two crooked companies in cahoots are better than one.

      What is the article REALLY about? You foist total propaganda about Google and Samsung after luring us in with an ‘Android is unraveling’ rumor? Please keep your excrement to yourself.

      1. Google will continue to cede control of Android to others who have figured out a way to piggyback on Android for their own profit

        How is that news?! What exactly is NEW here? This fish bait is deadly STALE. I spit it out, back in your face. Please keep your excrement to yourself.

        1. Good idea! It’s ranting to the choir here. On the other hand, I don’t like biting the bait when authors are obviously fishing for clicks. When there is some chance of sane discussion, I’d rather talk directly to the author. But in this case, no.

          1. MDN just posts the headlines that are there, it’s not fishing for clicks the author is. This is a collection of stories that are out there: the good, the bad and the ugly, and saves us the time of hunting them all down. MDN doesn’t chose the headlines or the topics. Often it’s US that decide what’s posted here when we eMail URL’s to them in request for it to be posted.

            1. No, you misunderstand. I had no interest in reading the author’s article at THEIR website where THEY get click-credit. I’m not worried about MDN getting click credits at all. This is the one website that frequently states ‘Think before you click’.®™

  7. “Google does all the hard work”….

    Shouldn’t that read, “Apple does (did) all the hard work”?

    So Google obliterates a golden opportunity to partner with the most innovative company in the world to join forces with….. Samsung! Great move, Schmidt.

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