Does Google fear Samsung’s Android dominance?

Does Google fear Samsung’s Android dominance?Last year, in an utterly ridiculous feature called Crystal ball craziness, I suggested that Google might grow to resent Samsung’s dominance in the Android arena.

Bizarrely, there have been various stories of late suggesting that that might in fact be the case, and that’s exactly what The Wall Street Journal is saying in an article titled “Samsung Sparks Anxiety at Google”.

Samsung accounts for something like 40% of the Android market and shipped a whopping 63.7 million smartphones in Q4 2012 - most of those Android.

To give that figure some context, in the same period, the next biggest Android manufacturer was Huawei with just 10.8 million.

WSJ credits anonymous “people familiar with the matter”, who reckon Samsung “could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement” with Google.

It’s said that Google is keenly schmoozing with non-Samsung OEMs at Mobile World Congress, in an attempt to strengthen bonds and ultimately “keep Samsung's leverage in check”.

As for Google’s purchase of Motorola, it’s described as an “insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android”.

While seemingly a tad melodramatic, that chimes with a recent story claiming that Google was looking to stick it to Samsung with the imminent Motorola X-Phone.

We reckon this is all being blown out of proportion somewhat, but we can appreciate that it’d make sense for Google to even the playing field. In the unlikely event that Samsung ditches Android for Tizen and Windows Phone, Google would inevitably ship a brick.

via: WSJ

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10 comments

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 26, 2013 at 19:42

Well... It shouldn't bother Google directly - they don't care what device people use their services from or download their apps and books from. But it should bother them if other OEMs say, heck, we're not competing with iOS or WP or BB - we're fighting Samsung. So we may as well do it from another platform... The figures for the past 2 years are quite clear: a new Galaxy flagship has very little to no impact on iPhone sales. Instead, Sony, HTC et al are struggling while others just can't reach that tipping point.

Of course, another issue is that all recent Android flagship (the Notes aside) have been very samey. So people may as well go for what they know, or for what their friends like, or what the shop dude recommends. That is: a Galaxy. Or no Galaxy - which is almost like "no Android"...

Seriously, take off the geek hat, and most flagship Android phone reviews are just one big blurry mass - not quite like WP, but it's going there. To get that 'special feeling' you need to root and tweak and flash. A) the majority of consumers do NOT do that. B ) If you do feel inclined that way, you can also jailbreak and get that 'special', unique iPhone feel.

(Preemptive rant: yes trolls, Android is so great because it can be ROMmed beyond recognition, but if that is important, then don't dismiss the iPhone "because you need to jailbreak to get anything special - like, ahem widgets" or those normal smartphone features. Just saying)

judgey  Feb. 26, 2013 at 20:23

lol at rant :-)

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 26, 2013 at 20:59

I do be a moderator :p

judgey  Feb. 26, 2013 at 21:06

;)

Pondlife  Feb. 27, 2013 at 00:19

But it should bother them if other OEMs say, heck, we're not competing with iOS or WP or BB - we're fighting Samsung. So we may as well do it from another platform...

Well if they want to go from 80 million odd sales between them to about 10 million between them that would be a great way for them to go.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 27, 2013 at 00:57

Thus the "if" - not much choice currently, but things change...

satchef1  Feb. 27, 2013 at 02:00

Well... It shouldn't bother Google directly - they don't care what device people use their services from or download their apps and books from.

And what happens if/when Samsung decide the Samsung Galaxy brand is worth more than Google's services? They could migrate to Tizen or pull an Amazon and do their own Android fork, taking a large chunk of the market with them and reaping the profit from their own app store, services etc. If that happens and Google does throw it's weight behind Motorola to stop the haemorraging market share, I feel sorry for the other OEMs.

Treab  Feb. 27, 2013 at 08:34

;)

Hes just not very good ;)

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 27, 2013 at 10:55

Well... It shouldn't bother Google directly - they don't care what device people use their services from or download their apps and books from.

And what happens if/when Samsung decide the Samsung Galaxy brand is worth more than Google's services? They could migrate to Tizen or pull an Amazon and do their own Android fork, taking a large chunk of the market with them and reaping the profit from their own app store, services etc. If that happens and Google does throw it's weight behind Motorola to stop the haemorraging market share, I feel sorry for the other OEMs.


Why would Samsung do that?
SGS3 just won MWC handset of the year. It's selling and selling and selling. Hey, the SGS2 still outsells most other newer smartphones. Tizen has no search engine, no youtube, no email service etc etc....
Yes, there is the risk that Samsung may deliver an SGS3-type hot Tizen device, and that many consumers might fall for the Samsung look and the Touchwiz UI. But it didn't happen with Bada. Heck, the Wave 3 had better hardware and built than the Galaxies and it still
sold in drips and drops. Most networks that sold the first 2 Waves didn't bother with the 3rd attempt. Probably didn't cause Samsung any headaches. But it hardly made them prepare for that day they ditch Android.

The first Samsung Tizen handset would have to be a game-changer to make the media and networks pay significant attention. A massive, revolutionary game-changer. We have iOS, Android and WP - plus Blackberry. The media prefer duality - Tories versus, ahem, Tories light, Oasis vs Blur - and iOS versus Android. They'll accept the nobel 3rd challenger fr slow news days... but a fourth or fifth wannabe?
The networks will accept what's best for themselves. A touchwizzed Tizen handset is not that. Customers and sales staff would have to think too much. "Is it a Galaxy? It looks like a Galaxy. Why can't I use the Playstore?"

Again: if Samsung dared go all-in with their Tizen launch product, things might change. But they won't. They won't launch anything that cuts into their Galaxy sales. They'll launch a high-end-ish midranger. And that too will have a GOOGLE searchbar on the homescreen...
If it's good, it'll be Samsung's fellow Android makers who'll lose sales. A few...

Or I am totally wrong. That'd be great. Because I'm tired of Android. I'm tired of Apple drip-feeding 'innovation', blocking jailbreak etc etc... I can't talk about WP, because I will not buy Microsoft. Blackberry overpriced the Z10, and I have doubts about their long-term strategy. We are that point where smartphones are smartphones are smartphones. Great if you just got old enough to get your first one, but other than that?

Pondlife  Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:21

Well yeah agree with that but more so, if you've got something that's working really well for you why drop it and take a completely different path, the Amazon like forking of android makes slightly more sense on first thought but even that is a huge unnecessary gamble. They'd lose play store access so customers would lose all the apps they'd bought or at best have to buy again, Google maps (and as apple showed it's not easy to replace) and have to do it for their entire range as there is no scope for having some android and some on forked version.
Just like EA haven't made their own console, content to let others take that burden and make profits there's no compelling reason for Samsung to take such a massive gamble that people would stick with them.

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