Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Sep 2010 18:53 UTC
Google Hold on to your security blanket, people, because Google is rolling out a pretty big change to its search engine. Not too long ago the internet was in a shock because Google rolled out a new feature that allowed you to pick a background image for the Google home page, just like Microsoft's Bing. Google went a lot further today, and has launched Google Instant, adding search-before-you-type results to the Google home page.
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RE[3]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Neolander on Thu 9th Sep 2010 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Tony Swash"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

If Android is a strategy to keep Google dominant (or at least very strong) in the mobile space it may not work very well. Already the Chinese variant has spiralled completely out of Google's control and now you have mainstream handset makers and carriers making models with Android but blocking Google search. You can add to that problem the issue of OS fragmentation.

In my opinion, even when things like this occur, Android can still be useful for Google, as a source of chaos and fragmentation in the mobile space.

Formerly, the mobile space was largely unorganized. Tons of company made low-end handsets, a few companies were dominant in some niche market (palm&hp in the PDA world, BB for business-oriented cellphones), and globally the sole dominant player was Nokia, because they were rich enough to adapt themselves to every single use cases (and made phones that can fall in water from the top of a building and still work after drying the pieces and putting them back together).

Nokia's domination does not harm Google's business, since the brand is largely open-minded and driven by business logic. This is what made it successful. If Google want to distribute some Youtube app on nokia handsets, they can, provided that they pay nokia a large enough sum of money. Google has that money.

Now, a new kind of market has emerged in the mobile world : touchscreen phones with dumb applications and high-quality web browsers. And for some reason Nokia did not adapt itself well as usual. They probably did not see it coming (who would buy a futility-oriented phone, seriously ?). The newcomer, Apple, could hence invade it with its product.

The problem for Google is that Apple are not driven by usual financial logic. They are ready to lose money and market share if they can tightly control their products and users in their whole lifespan. Google, as a major player on the Internet, is an obstacle to Apple's absolute monarchy, so they know that if Apple manage to get some serious market share in the mobile space, they will be in big trouble.

This was the situation when development of Android began.

Let's see what's happening now : if things continue to go this way, Android handsets are going to outsell the iPhone, no matter if it's under Google's control or not. That's because they are cheaper, and fit much more use cases than Apple's gizmo. If Google loses its grip on Android, milions of manufacturers and business interests will get a small part of it. So in the end, no one will be able to pretend "I control the android market". Like in 2006, there will too much players around.

Most companies would be happy to treat with Google, include a Youtube app and a GMail app, and so on. The bing example is an exception, and Google know that. So in the end, by treating with each manufacturer separately, they can manage to govern the mobile web in the end. Because unlike local applications, websites work on *all* Android handsets in the same way.

(PS : And if Apple wants to avoid this scenario, they must make sure that their iOS devices cover much more use cases. This means making them cheaper and more flexible. I see Apple making cheaper devices, but I think they'll lose in the flexibility area. Simply mentioning in front of Jobs the idea of letting an user browse its files, or code applications in Flash and on a PC, is risking death penalty. Same for suggesting that the touchscreen interface may be impractical in several cases and that including more buttons could have its uses...)

Edited 2010-09-09 11:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

They probably did not see it coming (who would buy a futility-oriented phone, seriously ?). The newcomer, Apple, could hence invade it with its product.


Nokia couldn't build a touch based modern smart, and still can't, because they lack the software engineering and UI skills.

The problem for Google is that Apple are not driven by usual financial logic. They are ready to lose money and market share if they can tightly control their products and users in their whole lifespan.


That made me laugh. Apple are the most financially successful tech company and that includes specifically being the most financially successful phone company. Since launching the iPhone Apple have basically walked of with the entire profits of the whole phone business. See this

http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-lo...

and this

http://www.asymco.com/2010/09/07/will-apple-need-to-cut-margins-on-...

Let's see what's happening now : if things continue to go this way, Android handsets are going to outsell the iPhone, no matter if it's under Google's control or not. That's because they are cheaper, and fit much more use cases than Apple's gizmo. If Google loses its grip on Android, milions of manufacturers and business interests will get a small part of it. So in the end, no one will be able to pretend "I control the android market". Like in 2006, there will too much players around.


So what? Even if that scenario came true Apple would almost certainly keep taking the bulk of profits and would still sell tens of millions of iPhones per quarter. Trying to think that this is a rerun of the past with Android as Windows will lead to misunderstanding the realities today. In my opinion the most likely outcome will be a big share of the market each for Apple and Android, Windows Phone 7 is a dark horse and too early to call but it could be a runner.

No one will be defeated or eclipsed except almost certainly Nokia (unless it adopts Android or there is a miracle) and probably RIM. Many hand set mnakers will continue to operate on razor thin profit margins.

Neither Android or Chrome guarantee Google an income earning future in the mobile world of tomorrow, and as long as (financially) they remain a one trick company they will remain vulnerable.

Simply mentioning in front of Jobs the idea of letting an user browse its files, or code applications in Flash and on a PC, is risking death penalty.


Apple have just approved third party development tools for the iPhone including Flash based tools.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Neolander on Thu 9th Sep 2010 20:16 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Tony Swash"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Nokia couldn't build a touch based modern smart, and still can't, because they lack the software engineering and UI skills.

Touchscreen is not that special, an good UI team could code something for it in a matter of months. That is, if the widget set is flexible enough.

In my opinion, this is Nokia's problem : the UI code in s60 was probably made with only keyboard interface in mind, with manually specified pixel size for buttons and so on. So adapting symbian to touchscreens require a major rewrite, a rewrite which takes time, even when they have the necessary skills around.

Apple did not have that problem because they started coding with touchscreens in mind right away.

That made me laugh. Apple are the most financially successful tech company and that includes specifically being the most financially successful phone company. Since launching the iPhone Apple have basically walked of with the entire profits of the whole phone business. (...)

Sure. That's normal, because
1/They took the market by surprise
2/They were there first, so they have a reputation advantage
3/Their product is of reasonably good quality
4/The app store is the only mean of getting applications on the device, and because of this monopoly Apple can introduce insanely high charges for developers who use it.
5/They sell only one device and charge an insanely high price for it

My point is that they could have made more money. By being more attractive for the BlackBerry userbase, as an example. Apple could have made more money with things like better mail management, a user-accessible and properly organized filesystem, and arguably in the long term if they did not choose the App store-only + iTunes-only business.

So what? Even if that scenario came true Apple would almost certainly keep taking the bulk of profits and would still sell tens of millions of iPhones per quarter.

Do you think so ? This is not certain, because the current iPhone ecosystem only appeals to the wealthier people, while the Android ecosystem is for almost everyone.

If Apple hits 10% of the market with a device which costs $700 (actual cost for Apple : $200) and Android hits 80% of the market with a device which costs $300 (Actual cost for the manufacturer : $150), the sad truth is that Android still wins, because 8x150$ = 1200$ and 1x500$ = 500$. App sales undergo a similar equation : less profit per user, but on a much larger user base, can mean more profit.

So in the end, unless Apple understand that and sell lower-end models, or let other brands do it, they will lose the game. But, in my opinion, Apple probably won't allow other brands to make iOS device because they are still pissed off an obscure Macintosh clones story and won't dare to admit that the PC was successful because of its clones. History made them control freaks.

Trying to think that this is a rerun of the past with Android as Windows will lead to misunderstanding the realities today.

Who knows... Discussion gets too speculative on this path, so I think we should stop it there, and wait to see how things go.

In my opinion the most likely outcome will be a big share of the market each for Apple and Android, Windows Phone 7 is a dark horse and too early to call but it could be a runner.

May you be right. We can't afford another Windows story, the current shape of the smartphone market would make it far worse, partly due to jerky moves from Apple (*cough* App Store *cough*) that have been widely accepted and have now become the norm.

No one will be defeated or eclipsed except almost certainly Nokia (unless it adopts Android or there is a miracle) and probably RIM.

May you be wrong. Nokia is one of the best phone makers out there, it would be great if they came up with their great ideas on the touchscreen market.

As of RIM, their problem will be to change their use base : their smartphones are seen as a products for boring people in smoking and ties, changing this image without losing their current user base will be difficult, though they try their best with things like BlackBerry Messaging.

Many hand set mnakers will continue to operate on razor thin profit margins.

Again, this can be a way to profit. Thin margins + Much higher market acceptance = Higher profit, in the end...

Neither Android or Chrome guarantee Google an income earning future in the mobile world of tomorrow, and as long as (financially) they remain a one trick company they will remain vulnerable.

This again becomes too speculative, so I won't answer that.

Apple have just approved third party development tools for the iPhone including Flash based tools.

Indeed, they have surprised me with this one. Guess this means that they're finally fully ditching the Mac platform. One victory for software freedom in the mobile space, though many ugly things still remain...

Edited 2010-09-09 20:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2