Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Jan 2014 22:40 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In early January, while the rest of the consumer technology world at CES marveled at the sheer size of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy tablet, Google execs were dismayed by what they saw on the screen of the massive 12.1-inch slate - a fancy new user interface called Magazine UX.


Multiple sources familiar with the companies' thinking say the two technology giants began hammering out a series of broad agreements at CES that would bring Samsung's view of Android in line with Google's own. The results of the talks, which have only just begun dribbling out to the public, also underscore the extent to which Google is exerting more of its influence to control its destiny in the Android open source world.

Dilemma. I don't like Google exerting control in this manner, but, on the other hand, anything that - for the love of god - makes Samsung stop building its own software for phones is a good thing. Tough call. Then again, this deal may also simply be another aspect of the big patent deal, indicating that this deal is about much more than patents alone.

In any case, the recent renewed collaboration between Google and Samsung seems to indicate that Samsung has little to no intention to move away from Android, and with Samsung still shipping exactly zero Tizen devices, I have little hope we'll ever see that platform jump front and centre.

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Samsung is not threatened by Apple, nor is Apple threatened by Samsung. There is place for several winners in such a big market, at least one for each successful ecosystem (Android, iOS and arguably WP). The question here is just which ecosystems are and will remain successful.

Competition is however strong withing a given ecosystem. Samsung is thus threatened mostly by the rise of other Android OEM, especially Chinese OEM such as Lenovo or Huawei and until now, potentially by Google/Motorola.

With the recent moves between Google/Motorola, Samsung and Lenovo, Google gives up its OEM status in order to please its partners because Samsung and others were obviously not happy to see the platform owner being also a competitor. A lot of conflicts of interest here.

For me, selling Motorola to Lenovo, the #3 smartphone manufacturer, is a way for Google to lessen Samsung domination on the Android platform.

The recent moves from Google are a sign that they are trying to keep a tight control over the Android platform.

While many want to see a platform war between Apple and Google/Samsung, I think that there is no war here: Apple only want to keep its platform very profitable and fight fiercely to defend their "walled garden". But Apple doesn't try to expand this garden much and Google is for sure fine with their 80% share.

But there is a war between Android OEM (Samsung being the king until now). Google was participating with Motorola, but today, Google decided to step back and in the future, they will encourage the Android war so as no Android OEM can threaten the Android platform which would be a potential disaster for them.

Edited 2014-01-30 10:08 UTC

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