Photo: Asa Mathat | All Things Digital
After taking the evening to digest all this Google-Motorola news, we realised one major pattern with the way Google operates.It has a history of lying about its mobile plans. And there’s a good chance it’s doing it again.
Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin pointed out that Google has been wishy-washy on its mobile strategy before. And because of that, we still believe my original point from yesterday:
Google is now a hardware company, and Motorola will get dibs on all the latest and greatest Android features. (That means Nexus phones.)
A quick history lesson:
- In 2004, then Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Google wasn’t getting into the mobile phone business. It bought Android in 2005.
- In 2006, things blew up between Google and Apple after Steve Jobs got a sneak peek at a handset running Android. Jobs reportedly felt betrayed by Google’s covert development of a mobile OS that was very similar to iOS. It wasn’t long before Schmidt left Apple’s board.
- Android is now the most popular mobile operating system on the planet. More than 550,000 new Android-powered devices are activated every day.
- Yesterday, Google bought Motorola Mobility, a company that depends almost entirely on Android for its smartphones and tablets, for $12.5 billion.
Can you guess the next logical step?
No matter what Google says now to appease regulators watching over the Motorola deal or its new competitors such as Samsung and HTC, it’s going to start favouring handsets from its new manufacturer very soon.
We can’t see Google saying “revenues be damned” and letting Samsung, HTC, and others walk all over Motorola. We can’t see Google letting Apple have the advantage of developing killer hardware and software on the same iDevice while Android remains fragmented.
To a degree, we believe Google when it says Android will remain available to other manufacturers. But we can also see Google limiting Android for its competitors, perhaps only allowing them to use a watered-down version of the OS, while Motorola gets the newest versions with “premium” features.
So here’s our takeaway: Google has hid its mobile plans before. It’s not a stretch to say they’re doing it again.