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Did you know Samsung could buy Android first, but laughed it out of court?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Did you know Samsung could buy Android first, but laughed it out of court?
The year is 2005. There are no smartphones, at least not by today’s standards. Carriers control not just what apps run on your phone - they try to curate search results on phones, pushing ringtones first and relevant results last.

At the same time, countless phones run various software versions, and what apps work on a Nokia phone often won’t work on Motorolas or Samsungs. Developers stay away from phones as if they were the devil. The few that feel obliged to write software for mobile are doing so on a per phone basis, literally writing separate code for dozens of phones, often for over 100.

The scent of change, however, is in the air. Engineer Andy Rubin had already started working on an operating system first designed for digital cameras, but changed his mind and evolved the project to fit phones. His career had started as a robotics engineer in Carl Zeiss, but later on he worked on an operating system for handhelds, and later on became well known for his Danger startup and the iconic T-Mobile Sidekick phone (remember that clicky slide-out keyboard?). He’s got the experience, and he’s got the support of a few more engineers. That’s why in October of 2003, he kicks off the Android project, but in just around a year, the start-up is starting to run out of money and out of people to lend from. There is no big company behind it, no owner to save it.

The T-Mobile Sidekick

The T-Mobile Sidekick

With a year worth of developed software, Rubin has to pitch the newly born Android to someone to get the money. What you might not have known, though, is that that first someone is not Google, the current owner of Android - it’s Samsung. The Android team, consisting of eight people back then, having flown out all the way to Seoul, Korea, has gotten a first meeting with one of the largest phone makers of the time, Samsung. 

Encircled by 20 Samsung executives, Rubin pitches the Android idea relentlessly, but instead of enthusiasm and questions, the only response he gets is dead silence. Then, Samsung’s team of high-ranked executives voices what seemed obvious then:

“‘You and what army are going to go and create this? You have six people. Are you high?’ is basically what they said. They laughed me out of the boardroom. This happened two weeks before Google acquired us,” Rubin later recollects.

Indeed, in early 2005 Larry Page would agree to meet with Andy Rubin, and after hearing about his work on Android, he not just helps get the money - he decides that Google will acquire Android. The feeling that the mobile industry has had to change has already been irking Google's cofounders, and in Mountain View Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been looking for that change for a while, particularly concerned that it might be the then big giant Microsoft that will get there first. Luckily, Rubin came in at the right time.

Google bought Android for around $50 million and incentives at the time, and by the middle of 2005 the whole 8-person Android team was transferred in Mountain View. And the rest, as they say, is history…

reference: Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

43 Comments
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posted on 16 Feb 2014, 17:34 45

1. ckoch125 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


And everyone is thankful that google bought them rather than samsung, otherwise it might be like apple and just a one horse race.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 18:22 5

9. skyline88 (Posts: 318; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)


no offense to Samsung, but i strongly agree with that. we dont need another fruit-like hypocrite.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 19:15 17

12. Ant34 (Posts: 193; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)


Maybe not. Who knows what Android would have turned into if Samsung got its hands on it? Google really refined the platform into what I think is the best OS today.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 02:57 3

33. dratomic (Posts: 461; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


android is my os of choice for phones but to be honest android was shaped to be like this because rubin copied apple. (i hate ios products and im a nokia fan but this is truth) before iphone android was supposed to be a blackberry ripoff.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 03:16 5

34. bloodline (Posts: 691; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


He didn't copy anything dumbass. do some research son.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 07:04 1

37. dratomic (Posts: 461; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


ok lowlife

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 04:24 1

36. Awalker (Posts: 313; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


Two phones were being developed concurrently - a physical keyboard type device and a touch screen device. The physical keyboard type device was scraped when the iPhone was released.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 17:32 1

38. verty (Posts: 105; Member since: 07 May 2012)


Dumb .....half describes you!!!! Dratomic.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 18:44 1

41. jroc74 (Posts: 4740; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I take it you believe Apple was working on iOS before 2003 then. Because it says in the article Android was born in 2003.

"That’s why in October of 2003, he kicks off the Android project, but in just around a year, the start-up is starting to run out of money and out of people to lend from. There is no big company behind it, no owner to save it. With a year worth of developed software......"

And as has been mentioned...and Youtube video evidence to back it up.....they were working on 2 phones....all touch screen and the BB like one.

They just picked the right horse to ride.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 20:24 4

19. akki20892 (Posts: 3454; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


The guy didn't get enough money that he deserve today sad. Who made android.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 21:55

21. pookiewood (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


Sorry but I don't believe that at all. I think Samsung would still be holding their own. They would've adapted and continued to changing market as they do with all of their products.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 00:25

28. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)


sadly Nokia didn't see this they went and partnered with that Window company !!! that is when their Downfall started..Nokia lost its Throne to Samsung & Samsung now Rules the 7 kingdoms...

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 10:24

43. gotenks22 (Posts: 5; Member since: 06 Feb 2014)


I can't imagine how it would've turned out if samsung bought android, but i'm pretty sure if they did it would've been closed-source, and i can't imagine that either it would be a tragedy.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 17:38 9

2. TidusWulf (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Apr 2012)


And samsung is laughing all the way to the bank because Android's free anyway and most Android users are on Galaxy phones.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 17:47 3

4. joey_sfb (Posts: 2919; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Samsung would not it available to every OEM for free. Therefore the adoption rate will be flat line as well.

iOS will rule the world plus their patent law suit on every other known OEM to bankrupt them.

Apple would rule mobile while Microsoft will still have its decreasing number of PC market share.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 17:39 3

3. Atheneum (Posts: 9; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


if it was Samsung who bought, android would not be the as it is right now. And I'm not sure if Samsung has the capability to popularized Android at that time.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 18:12 7

7. GeekNews (Posts: 9; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


As much as I like my Samsung devices I think you are 100% correct. Had Android ended up being in the hands of a single manufacture it would not have enjoyed the success it has had. Motorola, HTC and others were extremely instrumental in its early success.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 18:30 1

10. sipha (Posts: 265; Member since: 12 May 2012)


Samsung was already making $10 billion in pure profit by 2004!! So it did have the capabilities... but i dont think it would have as much as google...

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 19:47 5

15. Bioload25 (Posts: 207; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


You missed the point, bro
What has been said is that a single manufacturet would probably keep Android under its domains and not share it with others
Google is not a hardware dealer,but software, so it can "sell" Android codes for every major OEM and make it THE dominating OS

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 20:08

17. sipha (Posts: 265; Member since: 12 May 2012)


No, you missed my point.. I was only replying to the statement "And I'm not sure if Samsung has the capability to popularized Android at that time" ...& i agree full with that it wouldn't have(as i stated above), because would have kept android to itself...

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 21:58

22. pookiewood (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


Actually no he got it right. The original poster is pretty much saying Samsung would not have made Android successful alone. If you look at Android now who really pushed Android sales through the roof? Samsung was successful and would've continued to do so.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 23:52 3

27. mayur007 (Posts: 412; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


honestly samsung was the one who made the android popular with galaxy s

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 17:53 2

5. Mr.Mr.Upgrade (Posts: 425; Member since: 30 Aug 2011)


Samsung Galaxy phones are not worth it, bloatware, one or no updates on software, and people who think Samsung Galaxy phones great are the same as iPhone users, Samsung had their time, now its up, who like to dress or buy what their parents buy? I like my water plain not kool aid added to it bloatware

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 19:35 14

14. maccess (Posts: 610; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)


Totally disagree.. apple has no competition.. no other manufactures make an IOS device.. it's a monopoly.. samsung started on the land of android with so many competitors like htc,motorola,lg,sony etc.. yet they able to win the competition.. their phones may have lots of bloatware.. but that's fine coz i know how to use it and just simply turn it off when i dont need it.. and last samsung always good about updating their software.. your words just non sense for me..

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 20:01 6

16. MEeee (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I love those bloatwares on my Note 3. They're just simple on and off toggles. Without them, I wouldn't buy any other phones.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 21:12 2

20. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


My answer to bloatware is...Titanium Backup

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 18:10 2

6. apple4never (Posts: 947; Member since: 08 May 2013)


who knows if samsung was openminded, there might not be an Android, the mobile phone industry would probably have been, Sammy, Apple, And Blackberry

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 18:17 3

8. X.E.R.O. (unregistered)


Good call Mr. Page!

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 19:13 1

11. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 719; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


This is why some people would rather not change history

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 19:31 4

13. Numz (Posts: 32; Member since: 31 Oct 2009)


I think the title of the article should say out of the boardroom, not court.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 20:11 8

18. superduper (Posts: 150; Member since: 20 Oct 2013)


The laughter says it all. If ever proof was needed that Samsung hasn't an innovative, forward-thinking fiber in its body, this is it.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 22:58 2

24. androiphone20 (Posts: 1442; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


This.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 22:01 7

23. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3239; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Imagine stock android as ugly as touchwiz.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 22:59 3

25. androiphone20 (Posts: 1442; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


Even worse, something like Bada

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 01:26 1

29. maccess (Posts: 610; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)


Imagine stock android looks like touchwiz from the beginning If samsung aquired android before.. You wouldn't complaint i guess..

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 23:50 1

26. mayur007 (Posts: 412; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


and haters gona say that android copied ios

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 18:34

40. jroc74 (Posts: 4740; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


lol...Exactly.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 01:50

30. livyatan (Posts: 692; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


To be fair, it needs to be said that Samsung had Bada in development, and when the Wave first came out Bada was actually way superior to android and iOS.

posted on 18 Feb 2014, 08:14

42. corporateJP (Posts: 1555; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Bada was junk, ask the five people that bought the phone.

The only person that liked it was that one annoying Swedish kid that used to post here, probably Rodney's relative from across the ocean. Dude probably hung himself after Bada went away.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 02:06 1

31. mmmanuuu (Posts: 210; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)


Why didn't you went to Tony Stark MR. Andy Rubin? We all wud be running a JARVIS phone by now. Damn !

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 02:28 1

32. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 819; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Android + Google's quirkyness made great sense. I like Samsung a lot but I doubt Android's development would have been as fun to experience as with Google.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 04:23 2

35. _Bone_ (Posts: 2127; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


... and Samsung ended up getting it free what Google spends billions on developing. Evil genius of Sammy.

posted on 17 Feb 2014, 18:33 1

39. jroc74 (Posts: 4740; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


So glad it didnt go that way.

And Android as early as 2003 huh....tried to tell many Apple, iPhone fanboys it started alot earlier than 2008..

Wish Andy coulda bought over some of that Carl Zeiss magic to Android....

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