Android Analysis Misses a Consideration
January 21, 2013
I liked “What Does Google need from Android?” The article points out that Google is a key player in the mobile world. Mission accomplished. The hitch in the git along, however, is that revenue from mobile ads is different from desktop browser ads. We will have to watch Google’s financial reports to determine if the Google has been able to tap dance away from this crowd on the revenue dance floor.
The second point is that Google has done its job of democratizing access to the Internet. I am okay with this point, but I think the effort was more of a tactic to make Google into a 21st century Microsoft. I don’t think Google’s mathematicians and scientists were trying to help out humanity. That is a job for the social science and home economics majors in Googzilla’s marketing department.
The third point is that Google gets a lot of data. I don’t have a problem with this Hoover vacuum approach to information. At age 69, Google can know what it wants. I, like most seniors, do the surfing and email thing. I am not trying to cook up a fake girl friend or obtain self validation from the number of Facebook likes I accrue.
What is missing, however, is the fact that Google’s handling of Android is going to have some unintended consequences. One that I am thinking about is from our old pal Samsung. Samsung has blue chip consultants advising a bunch of engineers who want to capture as much money and market share as possible in today’s Wild West world.
Why is Samsung likely to take inspiration from Google and other masters of capitalism? My hypothesis is that Samsung wants to do the Apple thing from Mr. Jobs’s apex. Samsung already does the mobile manufacturing, branding, distributing, and other functions we know and love from the earliest days of the chaebol. Some poobahs and real journalists point out that Samsung is not so good in the software department.
My thought is that money can produce competent computer scientists, user interface, and programming types. With some effort, Samsung can cut its ties with Android, roll out its own bulgogi and leave the Google high and dry. What will Google do to prevent this from happening? I am not sure. Samsung is a clever outfit, and I think that Google’s controlled chaos approach to management is going to come back to bite some Googlers on the ankle.
Will this matter?
Well, not to me. To Google, having Samsung take off on a long march without Android may seem irrelevant. If Samsung goes its own way, who will be in charge of mobile? Apple, Google, Microsoft, Research in Motion, and HTC? Maybe the answer will be Samsung. Bad news for the GOOG perhaps?
Samsung warrants observation. If I have the energy here in rural Kentucky, I might do more than hypothesize. For now, I just wanted to point out that the three points in the write up are pretty good. Omission of the Samsung angle may represent a misunderstanding of what is at stake for the Google—steadily increasing revenues. Could Google lose momentum? Good question. Ask a Google economist if you stumble upon one? Don’t ask an Google ad sales professional. The world according to that species of Googler is better every day.
Stephen E Arnold, January 21, 2013