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

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

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44 Comments

1. ckoch125

Posts: 192; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

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

9. skyline88

Posts: 696; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

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

12. Ant34

Posts: 193; Member since: Aug 10, 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.

33. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 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.

34. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

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

37. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

ok lowlife

44. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 709; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

Then where did he based his UI from? Any previous existing smartphone before the iphone never gave an idea for the new UI until apple announced ios and iphone. Followed by the ipad which revolutionized mobile OS.

36. Awalker

Posts: 1954; Member since: Aug 15, 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.

38. verty

Posts: 132; Member since: May 07, 2012

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

41. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

19. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

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

21. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 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.

28. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 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...

43. gotenks22

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 06, 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.

2. TidusWulf

Posts: 7; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

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

4. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

3. Atheneum

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 07, 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.

7. GeekNews

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 25, 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.

10. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 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...

15. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 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

17. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 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...

22. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 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.

27. mayur007

Posts: 592; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

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

5. Mr.Mr.Upgrade

Posts: 474; Member since: Aug 30, 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

14. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 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..

16. MEeee

Posts: 382; Member since: Oct 19, 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.

20. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

My answer to bloatware is...Titanium Backup

6. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 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

8. X.E.R.O. unregistered

Good call Mr. Page!

11. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

This is why some people would rather not change history

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