Motorola is Google's defense against Samsung's Android dominance

Motorola is Google's defense against Samsung's Android dominance
Samsung is a huge success. The company was responsible for almost 40% of the entire smartphone market for 2012, and a large portion of that number is from Samsung’s Android devices. It’s hard to ignore Samsung, and it looks like Google can’t ignore it either. A new report says that Google is worried about Samsung’s dominance and could be using Motorola as defense against Samsung controlling the ecosystem too much.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google executives have had discussions about Samsung’s dominance over the past year. Android head Andy Rubin praised the company’s success, but also said that Samsung could become a threat. Rubin apparently went on to say that Google used the buyout of Motorola as a “hedge” against such a threat.

The biggest concern seems to be that Samsung is so far ahead of its nearest competitor within the Android ecosystem. According to IDC, Samsung makes up about 40% of the Android ecosystem, and the next closest manufacturer is Huawei at just 6.6%. And, in the world of Android tablets, Samsung has been making strides, and even outselling the Amazon Kindle Fire at the end of last year.

The worry is that Samsung could use its dominant position to fork Android, just as Amazon did, and take a large portion of Android users along with it (aka a large portion of Google’s ad revenue from various apps). Given Samsung’s position in the market, it seems reasonable to be careful, but forking Android would pose a number of issues that we’re not sure users would ignore.

If such a fear were to come true, Samsung would need to replace all of Google’s apps, including Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and most importantly, the Google Play Store itself. Samsung could relatively easily replace Google Calendar (and has basically already done so with TouchWiz), but everything else would be much more difficult to replace. The biggest trouble being the Play Store itself, because if users bought a new Samsung Galaxy device running a forked version of Android, it would be very hard to pass off a new app store.

Samsung has already bit into Google’s revenue by pushing its own Music Hub, which takes purchases away from Google Play. And, it seems possible that Samsung could do the same with videos, but completely replacing Google Play means also replacing the book and magazine sections, and of course the app section, which currently offers upwards of 800,000 apps.

That’s why we can understand that Google would be monitoring the situation, and may well have bought Motorola to be a “hedge” in case Samsung went rogue, but we’re not too sure that there is all that much to be worried about. At least, there shouldn’t be too much concern about Samsung forking Android. The company could still exert quite a bit of influence in other ways, and continue to cut into Google’s revenue streams with other services and content stores.

source: WSJ

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102 Comments

89. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

I hope Nokia is never invited to Android. Worse phone I ever had was a Nokia. Had 4 phones defective and had to replace. Nokia sucks in my opinion.

70. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

I can really see how they would do this. There is no doubt that Samsung is bringing the pain with its devices. Motorola would be able to hold off that charge and keep it in Googles hands. WIth so much force behind it, it will be interesting to see if some turmoil happens in Android camp that causes a boost to WP or BB10; not to mention Firefox, Tizen, and Ubuntu. I just love competition.

69. NateAdam8

Posts: 439; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

HTC and Motorola team up to make a Kick-Ass Android Device but Dreams like that don't happen.......... Ever!

68. nasznjoka

Posts: 418; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

well i used to hate badly samsung before android era. then loved them and i'm a beleiver of open source so i firmly stick to android. plus without google this world of technology could not be here. CLASH OF THE TITANS

64. Jyakotu

Posts: 868; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Thus, this is why Nokia did not enter the Android market. They would get overshadowed by Samsung easily. Not to mention, the fact of the matter is, when it comes to US carriers, most Android smartphones are Samung, whether they're low-end, mid-ranged, or high end. Very few HTC, LG, Sony, and Motorola (sans Verizon and its DROID line) devices are on all the carriers. Hell, majority of Sprint's Android line up is Samsung, with a sprinkle of HTC, LG, and Motorola.

63. jromy

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 26, 2013

How has google infringed on Samsung's territory? I thought the Droid X or whatever is supposed to be the FIRST phone to show the Google/Moto team. But Samsung has been taking a lot more of google's business of lately, or at least tried to. I like samsung, I can't wait to get my hands on the galaxy 8.0 since it's the only one that has all the things that I require on a tablet, but so far there has been no foul play on google's side. The Nexus line is not being produced by moto so until it does there is really no reason to bitch about google trying to take the whole market.

56. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

pfft...If I made Android and found Samsung as a threat, I'd prob slam my door in their face. No more updates, rights to the OS, and such xD Pull those reigns, Google!

52. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

How bout this google dont let Verizon get the exclusive or it will never beat samsung

91. thelegend6657 unregistered

This I agree carrier exclusive must end

51. karim77

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

And the android war begins again....

46. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Yep, definitly more Samsung fangs then android fans in this one. Some of you aren't seeing the bigger picture. Google bought Android as a way to get more ads in front of more people. When Samsung started making alternatives to Googles services, it cut into Google revenue and the deal Samsung just signed with Visa is proof of that. How does Google Wallet work if Samsung devices are the only ones allowed to use Visa? The Music Hub and S Voice are also taking money from Google, so why wouldn't they do what they can to make sure less Android users are using Google alternatives. It's not like they blocked Samsung from doing anything, they're just making sure their sole intrests in Android is being protected. Do you really believe at some point Samsung won't start pushing its own OS over Android? And if they stopped making Android devices at some point in the future what happens to Androids marketshare? Even if Samsung only conviences half of their loyal fans to switch to their home brewed OS, that's a hit of 20%. Google is being smart and you guys know it.

65. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think the deal with visa and many samsung services have come by simpli because google has failed to deliver products outside US (wallet, music, video etc) anyways I'm all for the Motorola X phone becoming something awesome

73. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

With Google Wallet, I kinda agree with you there, but look at all the push back and blocking they've face with it. Like the carriers getting together to make their own version of NFC payments. VZW is even worse by blocking Google Wallet all together. Idk man, I'm wondering if Google may need to follow Apple model and forbid OEMs from skinning and adding their own apps. They can always put it in the Play store.

86. richardyarrell2011

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

This comment makes NO SENSE what so ever. Samsung has ever right to look out for it's business and services they provide to it's end users. It was Verizon who blocked GOOGLE and it's Google Wallet not Samsung in the first place. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus doesn't have access to Google Wallet why is that because Verizon says so but meanwhile Sprint Galaxy Nexus has access to Google Wallet what does that tell you????? Samsung has played by all the rules just like every other OEM should they be punished because they are more disciplined and profitable than other OEM'S of course not. Google pays 10% of android to Samsung do you actually think 10% is adequate for all the revenue Google gets from all 213 million Samsung devices sold and 40% market share??? Thats just like going to work every day and your boss tells you that you will recieve no bonus based on a perfect evalutaion for all the work you have done for an entire year just pat you on the back acting like your appreciate when in all reality you have just been used. Google has financially earned plenty of cash off of Samsung and it's overall success their should be more given to Samsung for all of it's efforts after all they are the one's keeping android a float while all the other OEM'S are sitting around making flop after flop of devices and wondering why nobody purchased their devices.

92. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

You either misread or didn't really read my comment and that's why it doesn't make sense to you. I said VZW blocked Google Wallet in my comment. Google owes Samsung nothing, this was a lot of money made by both parties, but Samsung is getting greedy.

93. thelegend6657 unregistered

He is just an ignorant troll .

43. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think that if Samsung did this would be equal to suicide, they aren't using their position to get attention of their other projects, forking android would be a retarded move of them it could kill their market on the spot, as many of the things that work best are the ones that Google provides, anyways with this I hope we can see a great add campain following the Motorola X release, maybe it can actually blow minds and is aviable Worldwide, one phone can make the change...

42. ultimatebatman

Posts: 52; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

I have Samsung devices but I'm in no way loyal to them. If they cut out Google services and the play store, i'll cut Samsung out.

37. Dunknown

Posts: 84; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

This is the sign where Samsung is going down sooner or later. WIth this type of arguments could really topple a phone manufacturer. It is good that google should take a serious action to prevent Samsung to be monopolized in the global market of Android. Anyway I'm bored with android right now. It is time to change into a new OS maybe windows phone 8 looks attractive especially Nokia Lumia 920 or maybe blackberry OS z10 or maybe the mozilla OS. Those look new. Better than the old boring Android that I have seen for 5 years

38. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

I am bored of android too. I want UBUNTU :)

50. christumaini

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 25, 2012

think its a bad move to go for windows os(WP) over ANDROID, with WP you ll just get bored within a week(dont be tempted with MS adverts and so forth). Just wait for the later"coming soon" options with mozilla and ubuntu OS (maybe they can fit to compete with android)

32. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

You don't want any company having too big of a market share in Android because then that company will try to dictate how Google should run things. You don't want the created taking control away from the creator. Being Samsung has so much weight behind it, they can try to force Google to do certain things that would benefit their company, or they'll take their business, and millions of users, elsewhere. Google is right to try to balance the playing field more. As for Googles' acquisition of Motorola, they've been very straight forward and honest in the role Motorola will play. They haven't shown ANY special treatment towards Moto in any way, and let Moto operate independently just like it were any other OEM making devices for Android. If Google and Samsung split tomorrow, I'd go with Google all the way. Samsung is nothing without Android, at least here in the U.S.. Samsungs' Bada is virtually nonexistent here and their Windows Phone market share is peanuts compared to Android.

36. nikenturd unregistered

I think almost everybody share the same sentiments....I will immediately ditch my loyalty towards them should they travel a different route.

79. richardyarrell2011

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

Google CANNOT ballance the playing field because they don't have control over what any of the other manufactuerers as far as what they make. Google has enough issues of it's own which they should focus more on. The problem with GOOGLE is exactly what the problem is with APPLE now they think they can tell someone what to do or what not to do because Samsung is the one generating all that revenue for Google compared to all the current OEM'S. let's face the facts rather anyone like Samsung or not that's your choice that's why android is open source. But that doesn't take away from the fact that Samsung sold 213 million smartphones in 2012 and they own 40% of the market share. Samsung has earned that right Google didn't help them creat one device, Google didn't help them with software, marketing, or development of any devices Samsung did that all on their own. Rather people like Samsung or not they are android plain and simple and if you don't like it then purchase from someone else Samsung will be just fine because 90% of it's customers are lock stock and barrel behind Samsung 100% and won't purchase NO OTHER ANDROID DEVICE PERIOD. And don't even think of all that silly Google will pull it's services from Samsung cause if they did that Samsung will still survive they can make all the services Google provides that's why Google is huffing now. Samsung stood up to Apple and Samsung will stand up to Google as well with all the antitrust problems and issues Gogle has with the FJC and other agencies the last thing they need to do is bite the hand that feeds them. If they do you can KISS ANDROID GOODBYE......

90. thelegend6657 unregistered

Are you stupid or what ? You know that the majority of the smartphone buyers will choose Samsung no matter what and you said Google didn't help Samsung at all . But you have the realize touchwiz is based on android ! And Google owns android ! For example : if you are using my name as a restaurant franchise (let alone software ) then I have the right to dictate you what to do ! To use Google apps android manufacturers gave to sign an agreement , so this give Google power and control over them ! I think I am just wasting my time here , you should go back to your mother land Korea and continue to be a Samsung slave

28. faisal8708

Posts: 104; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

I guess thr r more samsung fans than android. I dont think moto is thr backup plan cause outside US it doesnt exists and google made sure of tht secondly rightnow no1 has the presence around the world as samsung other than Nokia and it was thr arrogance tht pushed Nokia to WP. Samsung will push to tizen eventually but it will not happen overnight first samsung will introduce tizen on low end devices than to mid range devices and durin tht time they will build tizen ecosystem and when they will feel tht their ecosystem has good porfolio they will dump Android. Goolgle should look closely and I think they r with LG buyin WebOS and Samsung lookin at tizen havin just moto will not cut for them they will hav to take the bitter pill and invite Nokia to Android.

33. wendygarett unregistered

Svoice >>>> Google now stop being such a butthurt!!!

34. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Well. I'll stick to Samsung. LOL

35. faisal8708

Posts: 104; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Its ok apple fans nowadays doesnt hav anything to cheer abt so u can hav it

57. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

lmao Svoice SUCKS

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