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The Future of Android — Does It Belong To Bing and Baidu?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the jaws-of-victory dept.

Google 171

hype7 writes "Given the recent publicity about Android and Google, the Harvard Business Review are offering another interesting perspective. They argue that Google runs a serious risk of losing control of Android, as competitors such as Bing and Baidu move in. It certainly presents an interesting possibility — that Android could win but Google wouldn't see any benefit out of it."

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171 comments

If you love it, set it free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291304)

If it loves you too, it will come back.

Re:If you love it, set it free (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291598)

And if it doesn't, hunt it down and kill it!

not only that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291320)

big name android app developers are ditching the android app stores and talking to carriers about making their apps pre-delivered, exclusive content. No dealing with piracy, no dealing with an ad-based model, no dealing with hundreds of hardware models and dozens of software versions.

I was molested by the TSA

Re:not only that (1)

BeeRockxs (782462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291370)

Pre-delivered apps can be pirated just the same.

Re:not only that (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291424)

Not if the are payed for by the carrier and free to everyone on that carrier. Hard to steal it when it is already there, and harder to steal it when it won't run on your branch of the Android tree.

Re:not only that (4, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291420)

Have you actually used Android?

The whole point of a smartphone (and Android) is that you can run all the apps on all the phones (the fragmentation that prevents this in some cases is NOT a positive aspect)... Screw non-standard preloaded apps, that's the exact evil thing we're trying to get away from.

Re:not only that (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291436)

It's what Google is getting away from too, with its plan for a slimmed-down future release of Android having all the apps as downloadable (by the end user) apps, to free up memory, allow users to choose what to install and provide fewer excuses for the likes of Orange to delay OTA updates.

Re:not only that (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291590)

Do you have a source for that? Do you mean no Google apps at all? No Maps, Street View and so on?

Or are you just talking about stuff (bloatware) that carriers like to preload...? That would be a step in the right direction.

Re:not only that (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291776)

I can't actually find the original source, but a while ago Google stated that future versions of android would run separate from versions of the google apps, separating them so that users don't need the latest OS to run the latest gapps.
This has already started happening, with the core apps later versions appearing in the market - http://android-apps.com/articles/reviews/google-puts-gmail-app-in-the-android-market-new-version-available-for-download/ [android-apps.com]

Re:not only that (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291860)

Yes, that's definitely started happening, but it's never been stated that the core apps would not be shipping with handsets. That would be an entirely different scenario... and an unlikely one at best.

They're already on the right track with Maps/GMail and other market-updatable core apps... other than the fact that the updated APKs are then placed in /data/app/ instead of /system/app/, this is most definitely the way to go. And on modern phones (2GB+ of space for user apps is becoming the norm) this isn't a problem at all... :)

Re:not only that (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291998)

Gmail, maps etc ARE the core apps. What were you thinking about?

Re:not only that (5, Insightful)

znu (31198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291508)

Google's preference order for the structure of the mobile market, from most preferred to least preferred, is probably something like:

1) Android is a popular, unified platform controlled by Google.
2) Android is a popular but fragmented platform, with carriers and handset makers doing whatever they like.
3) Android is an unpopular platform. Apple dominates the market, and has the power to lock Google out of mobile advertising.

Based on Google's behavior, it's clear their primary goal with Android was simply to avoid #3. Trying to achieve #1 would have required Google to exert control over the platform that carriers and handset makers would have likely objected to, this lowering adoption rates and increasing the probability of #3 occurring. So Google was willing to give up nearly all control, and settle for #2. They'd rather have a fragmented market than one controlled by Apple.

Re:not only that (4, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291666)

Google's preference order for the structure of the mobile market, from most preferred to least preferred, is probably something like:

1) Android is a popular, unified platform controlled by Google.
2) Android is a popular but fragmented platform, with carriers and handset makers doing whatever they like.
3) Android is an unpopular platform. Apple dominates the market, and has the power to lock Google out of mobile advertising.

Based on Google's behavior, it's clear their primary goal with Android was simply to avoid #3

I'm not convinced that #1 is even a strong interest of Google's. When Google bought Android they could, after all, have kept it and made it available to handset makers under attractive terms. Instead, they set up the Open Handset Alliance -- which they don't control -- and transferred ownership of Android to the OHA. I think that, for Google, as with Chrome in the browser market, the two main purposes of Android in the smartphone OS market are:
1. Prevent any one non-Google vendor from dominating the market and using that to dictate which services can be accessed, either directly or simply by favoring their own services or their partners,
2. Drive expectations in the market so that future offerings, from whatever vendor, provide an excellent platform for the online services at the core of Google's business.

Re:not only that (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291672)

Google's preference order for the structure of the mobile market, from most preferred to least preferred, is probably something like:

1) Android is a popular, unified platform controlled by Google. 2) Android is a popular but fragmented platform, with carriers and handset makers doing whatever they like. 3) Android is an unpopular platform. Apple dominates the market, and has the power to lock Google out of mobile advertising.

Based on Google's behavior, it's clear their primary goal with Android was simply to avoid #3. Trying to achieve #1 would have required Google to exert control over the platform that carriers and handset makers would have likely objected to, this lowering adoption rates and increasing the probability of #3 occurring. So Google was willing to give up nearly all control, and settle for #2. They'd rather have a fragmented market than one controlled by Apple.

I think you're totally right. All the people saying "Google is trying to control our phones! Google is trying to control our phones!" are ignoring how inconsistent Google's actions are with actually trying for #1, and how much more their actions point toward #2. Of course they want #1, they're a for-profit company; that doesn't mean they think #1 is viable.

Google doesn't care (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292152)

The bias of the Harvard Business Review is given away with the question "What's the endgame here?" The domination and ossification model we're used to - "embrace, extend, extinguish" has an endgame: the state where no more effort need be made toward progress because the domination of the market is self-reinforcing. James Plamondon called this "critical mass". This is rent-seeking behaviour, and participating in it is essentially self destructive from a customer point of view because it advances the plan toward the ossified end state. We desperately don't want an "endgame".

Google's game doesn't have an end state. Their game involves continually staying ahead of progress to catch the benefits, and continually driving progress to keep moving the goalposts so others can't achieve dominance because the market is too dynamic. It's better for us in the long run. It requires a great deal of courage and vision to come up with a plan like this, and excellent execution to keep it working. I hope it continues to work.

Arguable (2, Interesting)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291332)

The most important asset Google-approved Android devices have is the Android Market. So, how far can a manufacturer go toward replacing Google's applications and services before Google says "No Android Market for you!"? By the way, I believe most Android devices that come out of China don't ship with Android Market so there you go.

Re:Arguable (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291434)

Far enough to make a private market of applications that actually all work on their phone?

Re:Arguable (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291602)

So how do they get all the devs to migrate from the Android Market?

I doubt this is a viable option when the switch is within a single platform. End users will just sideload the Google apps onto their phone and that'll be the end of it...

Re:Arguable (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291778)

The Android Market doesn't require an exclusive agreement, so they don't need to make developers switch, they just need to make them use both app stores. And, unlike the iPhone, app stores are not the only places to get apps, you can grab them from anywhere.

Re:Arguable (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291810)

Right now there is a majority of apps that are only available from android market (at least if you limit yourself to legal sources).

Still, there are a couple of independent app stores in operation. But for some idiotic reason the various device brands insists on creating their own stores rather then back one of the independent ones.

Re:Arguable (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291792)

The thing with the android market is that it doesn't offer you apps that wont work on your phone, at least if the author sets it up correctly.

Timeframe (3, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291558)

A good working app market, and goog google services is one thing. But they can still win customers back. The one thing on the side of google is time. Google does have early access to next release of android. Members who do not play the rules correct will only have very late access to the latste version of android. Google will release source eventually, but when the latest google phone is released, google already tested it for several months with the very latest version of android. After that they start to release the software. From that moment "strange"handset makers can port their software to that version. With good quality control they are about 6 months later. after 6 months google has already released or announced the next version.

So handset makers can release bing/baidu apps on android, but only on old android, not the newest/latest. This might be acceptable on "budget" phones, but not on high end phones.

11 Jul 2010 Android 2.2 release on HTC high end phone [gsmdome.com]
No source for 2.2 on official site today 20 nov [android.com]

Re:Timeframe (1, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291848)

Who cares.

90% of android phones aren't upgradeable anyways. in 2 years I have received 2 major OS upgrades to my iphone. in 2 years time there isn't a single Android vendor still suppling updates to older phones. Once you root your phone the warranty is voided.

I really want to get away from the iphone. I just can't seem to find a replacement that the vendors care about for more than 6 months.

Re:Timeframe (3, Interesting)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291964)

Because the vendors care about the initial sale and, where applicable, the contract they lock you into.

If you want a vendor who cares about the phone for more than 6 months, the only vendor pursuing a strategy compatible with that right now is apple, because they want that initial sale, but they also want future sales, and app sales, and iad revenue. They have a vested interest in making sure your phone gets that upgrade, because it helps them make more money. Samsung, htc, AT&T, verizon? Mostly they want the initial sale, and then quick obsolescence to keep their revenues up; they're not interested in spending a bunch of money rolling out upgrades so you can spend money on someone else's apps in another store.

Re:Timeframe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292022)

This is the PC vs Macintosh story all over again. While Apple provides better care and devotes most their time and resources to just a couple of models of phones(3g, 3gs, 4), the Android market is flooded with hundreds of new Phones every year, HTC in particular is guilty of this with their extensive line of phones, all of which get mediocre support, while they have done an Ok job so far, their lack of focusing on one particular phone clearly shows, from poorly coded software that controls the cameras, to buggy and slow Senseui software.

But the advantage to this, is that Android phones are moving at a much faster pace than the Iphone, with newer gadgets coming out with a new model every 3 months, instead of once a year.

Re:Timeframe (1)

technomom (444378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292278)

I've had my Incredible since March and it's still very much a viable phone. I'm still getting updates for it and I can't see switching off of it for a long time to come. I think your point is correct about pre-2.1 phones but I think most of the flagship 2.1 phones have been following along pretty well with the updates. My phone has received 2 in the past 3 months. I have no doubt that we'll be seeing Gingerbread on Incredible. As for Apple's updates, I got my iPod Touch shortly before I got my Incredible and the ios 4 updates I got (1) gave me no visible benefit whatsoever and (2) for some inexplicable reason eat battery life like crazy. So, I think the updates are somewhat oversold. Apple, just like their counterparts, could care less about 3G and 2G products now.

Re:Timeframe (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292382)

There might be vendors. Just find out which vendors actually gave update in the past [wikipedia.org] (HTC+samsung mainly?). There is a huge difference of vendors that release a phone that is already outdated when released, and vendors that gave updates form 1.5 till 2.1/2.2

After that, i miss the point of buying a top of the line phone now, and expect updates 2 year later. In 2 years that tech is horribly outdated. Same as you saw on iPhone. running ios4 on a previous generation iPhone disappointed [hardware.info] a lot of people.

If you have 300-700 euros to spend on a phone, you can renew it every 1-2 years. If not you are way over budget (phone can be damaged/stolen way too easy, insurance does not cover everything). iPhone is not different, drop it and the glass breaks.

Re:Arguable (4, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291596)

Not so much the Market (which kind of sucks, IMO), as Google services themselves, which are integrated into the OS. Remove things like Google Maps, and most location-aware apps will just stop working, access to Market or not. Oh, and of course Google search is integrated with Maps, so ditching Google search for Bing degrades the quality of the phone -- and not only because Bing sucks big hairy camel balls, which it actually does. Who would have thought that a Google phone was in fact a Google phone.

Re:Arguable (2, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291794)

By the way, I believe most Android devices that come out of China don't ship with Android Market so there you go.

All 4 Android tablets I've bought in Shanghai came with the Android Market preloaded. On the contrary, the rule seems to be access to the Market.

Check the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291336)

I cannot understand half of the top application right now half is chinese.

Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291344)

What difference does Android make? If people choose Bing and Baidu over Google, the company is screwed anyway. Google's search engine has to be the best, or at least as good as the competition, for Google to survive. I don't see how Google could lose on Android and not lose on the desktop/laptop.

It's not about search, DAMMIT! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291380)

FOR FUCK'S SAKE, GOOGLE IS REALLY NO LONGER ABOUT SEARCH!

Look, Google is an advertising company. Way back when, they got their start as a search engine, but that's a small part of the pie now.

Android further fragments the mobile OS market, which drives consumers to use shitty web "apps" rather than native applications. These web "apps" are the sort of think Google can shit advertisements into, or otherwise collect the personal data you so willingly give them.

Re:Makes no sense (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292024)

As the AC said above, no. It costs Google nothing if the Chinese telecoms put Baidu and their own app market on. It's not like it costs extra to develop that version they had nothing to do with. And the Chinese people will still have a computer in their pocket that can visit the Web. And where will they go on the web? To sites that carry Google ads. To YouTube and Gmail. And when they get tired of the poor search results with another provider, they'll just google from the browser.

If the vendors get to be too much trouble, phone users can just load a proper version of Android and be done with them.

And in the long run the vendor that provides the full Android experience with Google apps wins anyway.

In summary, the analysis in the fine articles is complete hogwash. It shows a lack of understanding about the situation. It assumes that Google wants to assert some control over the handset and that's not the case. Google doesn't want control, it just wants people to have more access to the Web so people can see their ads and use their services. Android can't be reengineered to shut Google out, so Google will be fine.

This is one of the things I love about Google. They engineer their businesses to profit from technological progress - faster Internet, mobile everywhere, open spectrum. Then they put their other efforts into driving that progress. Because they foresaw the progress they're driving they're best positioned to profit from it when it comes. Because we like progress, it endears us to them. Everybody wins. I like this model better than the domination and ossification model that was previously prevalent.

"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291346)

Google controls the Andoird Market. Sure, manufacturers can roll their own markets if they want, but they will always be dwarfed by the offical one. No one is going to buy an Android phone that does not have access to the market. And Google can cut off access to any manufacturer at any time if they get too in-bed with Baidu or Microsoft.

Not to mention, the first thing anyone does who gets the stupid Bing phone from Verizon is uninstall it and put Google back. There has been such a consumer backlash that Verizon is backing out of the deal and putting Google back in newer handsets.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (3, Interesting)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291410)

And Google can cut off access to any manufacturer at any time if they get too in-bed with Baidu or Microsoft.

Yeah, but wouldn't that then make Android/Google just as "evil" as Apple? I just find it interesting that people are suggesting that Google could do something with their "open" Android platform that Apple can do today with their "closed" iOS platform. It's just one of those shoe-on-the-other-foot moments that I like to see play out when folks don't think things all the way through.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291838)

There is a key difference. Google could cut off access to other companies but they probably wouldn't do that to end-users. I think the issue people have with Apple isn't their ability to cut off other companies, but the restrictions placed on end-users of their products.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291870)

There are certain terms and service companies have to agree to, if they wish to use Android Market.

O.o And are you implying that restricting Google services to companies who violate Google terms is equivalent to restricting ALL access to the phone unless you suckle Apple?

Last I checked if you didn't like the way Google ran their market, you can create 30+ markets of your own, or manually install, or whatever without any effort.
If you don't like how Apple runs their market, you have to hack the OS.

(This, by the way, is part of the reason why Google's phone is "open" and Apple's phone is "I dont wanna you can't make me Oh wait, can I make profit all right then but only for now")

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292146)

See, the problem is that people like you have to make everything into some sort of false dichotomy, then work out reasons why your opinion is somehow a logical fact. That, and the lack of hygiene, is why no one likes nerds.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291880)

It would. But Google obviously doesn't do that, as there are Bing and Baidu apps in the Market. What they do, however, is demand that the phone has some core functionality in order to give it access to the market. And so, developers can expect that apps that depend on this will work -- and vice versa: if you remove core functionality from the phone, you can expect that plenty of apps will just stop working. And it just so happens that much of the core functionality is linked to Google's services. It's a Google OS, after all.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291894)

Ugh Google has to exert control to be able to KEEP android free. Apple exerts effort to keep iOS monopolized.

I run into the same fucking terrible misunderstanding while talking about the free market. A market with no restrictions or controls does NOT result in a free market. It results in a few groups dominating and controlling it to the misfortune of all of the others. A FREE market requires strict controls and enforcement in order to stop stagnation and monopoly.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (3, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292070)

I think you are using the wrong words. I think what you meant to say is:

Google has to exert [regulations] to be able to KEEP android free. Apple exerts effort to keep iOS [regulated].

AND

A FREE market requires strict [regulations] and enforcement in order to stop [corruption].

A "free" market, and a "free" or "open" piece of software are not the same thing. Apple is not monopolizing anything. They are regulating their platform the way they see fit, as Google is doing with their platform. Apple didn't create the mobile phone, smartphone or mobile applications markets. Those markets exist within the broader free market economy and did before the iPhone came to the scene. Apple and Google are merely providing two platform options, one heavily regulated and one less regulated. The market will sort this out as to which one is truly better. We can't say which will be more successful right now because the story is still playing out. However, we can see where the weaknesses and strengths of BOTH platforms are starting to show. Hence my comment of how I like to see these things play out. I think Apple thought this app market thing through a little better and took a more conservative starting point. Google took a more liberal approach and has completely splintered their market and made things harder to regulate going forward. It's far easier to loosen regulation in a controlled sandbox than it is to lasso unruly kids scattered all over the playground.

No misunderstanding here, but a little knowledge can be just as harmful as ignorance.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292162)

No, a fair market is what you're defining. Redefining free to mean "you're free to do as I tell you" is a popular way of trying to package up control (see Richard Stallman et al). Free, however, does not guarantee everyone can do whatever they want and never has.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291990)

No, because if you want into the main market with Android, you play by Google's rules. But _nothing_ stops you from making your own market. There are already a ton of apps located outside the official marketplace that you can go and get. This is the huge advantage with Android. With the iWhatever, you are utterly locked into Steve Jobs Market, that's it. End of Story. As an Android user, I welcome new markets. Sprout them up!

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292020)

The difference is the Market is not forced on anyone, not th emanufacturer, OR the end user.

With an AOSP ROM, anyone can download a .APK and install it on their phone.

Any lock-downs preventing this are due to the carrier, not Google. And frankly it is the norm outside the US to not prevent this. Only US carriers enable the option to prevent installing non-signed APKs and then remove it from the UI.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291448)

And open themselves up for massive bad press, lawsuits, and a possible anti-trust investigation. They would probably win, but at one hell of a cost.

All of China? (1)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291886)

So let's say Baidu makes a market with localized apps and pays providers to point to only that?

Or let's say China Mobile sets the phone with their own default market. Even Verizon can do that.

Many ways competitors could become much bigger than the "official" market pretty quickly.

Re:"Harvard Business Review" needs more research (2, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292078)

"Harvard Business Review" needs more research

No kidding. Google is an advertising company. Every company wants the markets complementary to their primary products and services to be commodity markets, because it lowers prices (which increases demand) in those markets, which in turn increases demand for the complementary products and services the company sells. And keeping the margins low and competition high in those markets ensures that you don't get a company like Apple who could potentially leverage a large market share in devices into a competing advertising business.

Say what? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291350)

Why the hell would Baidu or Bing be profiting from Android if Google weren't? Just because Google's main business is a search engine? Have these people ever actually used Android? Maybe if they had, they'd know it isn't just a mobile platform for Search... o.O

Oh well, I'm going to read the article now... checking back in 5 minutes to confirm whether my prediction (article=utter crap) was right...

Followup... (5, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291400)

And as I predicted, utter crap.

Point 1: "Ohnoes, Bing's being used as the default search engine on a few Verizon phones!" Let's see... how important is this really? Anyone who cares will simply use Google (from the Market, or just in the browser, or if needed by sideloading)... as for revenue from search? I'm guessing much more of the revenue comes from things like Admob and the rest of the Google-infested web, not to mention priority placement of items in apps like "Places" and Maps searches.

Point 2: "Ohnoes, Baidu is rolling its own 'G-Apps' to replace Maps, Search, Nav, Market, Talk and so on!" Let's see... native Chinese stuff made by Chinese guys for the Chinese - sounds like a perfect idea to me. I'm sure the integration with Baidu and Chinese culture in general will make for a very usable operating system in China... outside of China, however... what's the point?

And if Google continues improving its proprietary apps at the current rate, it's very unlikely that Baidu will be able to keep up. That market will sort itself out... as we've seen with all other devices without G-Apps (tablets, for instance).

Re:Followup... (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291710)

Let's see... native Chinese stuff made by Chinese guys for the Chinese - sounds like a perfect idea to me. I'm sure the integration with Baidu and Chinese culture in general will make for a very usable operating system in China... outside of China, however... what's the point?

I think the point is that the Chinese market is the world's largest untapped smartphone market. But you're right, there are a ton of other fish in the sea. Even if Baidu achieves complete dominance, taking all those 1.3 billion potential customers off the table, that still leaves more than 5 billion potential customers in the rest of the world who don't speak Chinese and will use Google because Baidu gives them nothing.

Re:Followup... (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291926)

Apparently verizon modified the phone so users viewing the market cannot see google. (Uncomfirmed afaik since i don't have a verizon-android phone) And that if you DO install the google launcher it redirects to bing anyways. Which you see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WGgyI_1AU4 [youtube.com]

The market won't sort its self out if companies put too high a price to switch and close down the phone. If a user has to format the phone or root it then the free market won't happen.

Re:Followup... (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291948)

Interesting. Isn't this a very similar situation to the one with the browsers on Windows in the EU, only worse (since on Windows, installing alternative browsers isn't blocked)?

I'm surprised nobody in the US has picked that up as a reason to sue... what with litigation being the primary form of communication between corporate entities these days and all.

Personally, I just won't buy that crap and won't let my friends or family buy it either. Learned about locked down devices the hard way (Milestone), and won't be falling for that again soon... now if only everyone else could get on board. :(

Re:Say what? (5, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291468)

I had a similar reason for wanting to post (before reading a few comments and the article). Baidu and Bing are search engines (and indirectly ad platforms). Android is an operating system. Who cares if Baidu or Bing muscle out Google's search on their own mobile OS platform? How is that going to spell the end of Android or Google as a company?

Article is full of speculation and wild hyperbole. Waste of time to even read. Sad for Harvard Biz review, really.

Re:Say what? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291812)

Not to mention the fact that Bing is owned by Microsoft, a company that ships its own OS for mobile phones and regards Android as a competitor. What on earth would they gain from having their own Android fork? Other than the fact that they'd be distributing Linux under the GPL and therefore giving up the right to sue anyone for patent infringement on anything in the kernel, of course...

Re:Say what? (3, Insightful)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292318)

MS sells Windows, and you can run Google applications and web services on it. Google sells Android and you can use MS applications and web services on that. Am I missing the point of this story somewhere?

I honestly can't see it coming as a surprise to Google that their OPEN SOURCE software might be used in ways other than what they dictate. They're au fait with how open source works, I doubt this is an unforeseen problem.

Google know that they control the (official) Android application market, many of the applications use their advertising software/schemes, many of the companies that are manufacturing Android phones will be contributing to its development, and Google gets all important publicity/mindshare. Whatever benefits Google thought they were getting out of starting a free and open mobile OS presumably still stands.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291910)

Yes it's speculation; but the article doesn't say this would be the end of Google at all.

The worst-case scenario is that if Google fails to see searches directed their way from their own OS, if if their market is supplanted by others, they could stop supporting it.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292144)

Because Andriod has to pay for itself. If Google loses control of search on its own platform, they have that much less incentive to keep developing it. Duh.

Money makes the world go round even at Google.

The Battle for Search Revenue (1)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292164)

Who cares if Baidu or Bing muscle out Google's search on their own mobile OS platform? How is that going to spell the end of Android or Google as a company? ...Sad for Harvard Biz review, really.

Relax. No one is spelling the end of Android or Google. But Google did not create Android as a gift to the OSS community. They created it to be able to drive search revenue their way, instead of having to rely on Apple. If the product they invested in cannot actually drive revenue, it causes their investment to have been in vain.

Harvard Business Review understands what the average geek does not: that large corporations implement strategies to create profits, and some fail. The only thing that's sad here is the groupthink on /.

Any benefit ? (4, Insightful)

cokegen (925518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291358)

Even if Google don't see a dime out of Android, it helps to bring down locked alternatives such as the SO on the IPhone and Windows Mobile. That helps to keep the market clean and filled with options.

Re:Any benefit ? (1, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291520)

You mean like Linux helped to bring down locked alternatives like Windows and Mac OS. Yeah, that's working out amazingly well as a plan, especially for the desktop. Don't get me wrong. I believe in the right tool for the right job. I use a lot of different OS platforms on a daily basis (Win, Mac, Linux, BSD...) for different purposes, but Linux is *NOT* making inroads on the desktop after 15 years (or more) of being there.

The if-you-build-them-something-open-they-will-come motto just doesn't hold water. The success of Android has been driven by the fact that Apple held onto their exclusive deal with AT&T too long. This is a similar story to what Sony did with the Betamax patents in the 1980s, but with a different set of effects happening now.

What "keep[s] the market clean and filled with options" is innovation, change, new stuff, a better way of doing it, not just an open software development platform.

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291570)

I use a lot of different OS platforms on a daily basis (Win, Mac, Linux, BSD...) for different purposes, but Linux is *NOT* making inroads on the desktop after 15 years (or more) of being there.

Tell that to my dad, my sister, and my wife.

Re:Any benefit ? (2, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291730)

"Tell that to my dad, my sister, and my wife."

Well then, that settles it! 2010 is finally the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292160)

LMAO, I think you can forward my comment to them just fine. If you are speaking of those three using Linux on the desktop, then hurray! They have joined the less than 1% of the world that uses Linux on the desktop (along with me and probably 25% or more of the folks reading this, you insensitive clod!). Now, may I ask what they do for a living that they use Linux on the desktop? If your answer is anything dealing with science or academia then, yeah, that makes sense. One of the only places you see Linux on the desktop is in science and engineering disciplines...right next to Windows and Mac OS.

You can draw parallels to current Linux market share with Mac OS market share in the 1990s, but the problem is the Linux market share was never above where it is now, while Mac OS was above where it was in the 1990s prior to 1993 and is now much larger. Look at a similar 15 year period in Linux history and you will see negligible or no positive increase in market share. Why? User experience, availability of cross-platform applications and general serviceability of the operating environment. Ubuntu has made significant advances for Linux desktop user experience, and OpenOffice.org has allowed for the most basic of computing tasks (general productivity) to come up close to par with existing "for pay/closed" operating systems, but it's still not that serviceable. You still have to have a good deal of wirehead knowledge to make things work right-out-of-the-box, all the time, every time with Linux. The support community for Linux is STILL, to this day, filled with a lot of arrogant unhelpful people, forums that make huge assumptions about their readers, and so called proponents that are no better than the Mac and Windows fanbois they profess to hate on the other side of the fence.

I could go on, but no one is paying me for this! Plus, weren't we talking about Android and Google?!?! Gaaa!

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

e70838 (976799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292186)

Idem for my wife. I have used Linux as a second OS since 1992. Since 6 months, Windows is the second OS (used mainly for MSN chat) and Linux is the first one (mail, internet, office).
The main motivation of the switch was that my not so old printer and scanner had no driver on Vista. The second motivation is that I do not like license scheme and price of windows. I can not install my official windows XP pro in virtual box. On my notebook, I have windows seven starter which is crap. I do not like any of the change between XP and Vista.
Windows is probably better for watching video or playing games, but Linux is now good enough on these points.
good by microsoft

Re:Any benefit ? (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291958)

Windows is FAR FAR FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR more open than the vast majority of mobile phone offerings. Hell winmo is one of the most open platforms and cellphone companies are locking them down a scary degree.

As for the point about linux. It helps. It doesn't need to have a huge market share to make the marketplace more open. MS knows that if they lock things down like apple. It will become year of the linux desktop. If they don't keep innovating/progressing it'll become year of the linux desktop. And competing with something free, incumbent, with thousands of coders, lots of business deals and huge flexibility. Is not something anyone wants to take a real stab at.

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292012)

The success of Android has been driven by the fact that Apple held onto their exclusive deal with AT&T too long.

Oh bulllllshit.

Android has seem similar gains around the world, where the whole weak AT&T excuse (you know, a carrier that covers virtually 100% of the US population) has no relevance. In Canada the iPhone had a brief period where it shone, but now the Android devices are coming on very strong.

However comparing Linux/Windows on the desktop iOS/Android on smartphones is asinine. Windows was never locked down or exclusionary even remotely to the degree that iOS is. It was an open, free market for virtually everyone.

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292204)

However comparing Linux/Windows on the desktop iOS/Android on smartphones is asinine. Windows was never locked down or exclusionary even remotely to the degree that iOS is. It was an open, free market for virtually everyone.

Really? You can buy a computer from [vendor name here] but it only comes with Windows.

Really? You don't remember Windows before NT 3.5 do you?

Really? Signed drivers?

Really?!?! Genuine Advantage?

Yeah, just WIDE OPEN!

As for outside the U.S., I have no data, so my comments strictly cover the U.S. market and our economy. Fair enough?

Re:Any benefit ? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292508)

You can get the iPhone on all 5 major phone networks in the UK, and you can buy an unlocked version direct from Apple. That hasn't stopped Android moving into the market.

Linux failed on the desktop because by the time it was a viable alternative, it was too late. Windows Phone 7 will fail for the same reason.

Profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291372)

Google win because Microsoft only make profit from Windows and Office. If Android cuts into these profits enough it will restrict the amount of cash flow Microsoft have to throw away on search engines, Zunes, consoles etc.

Depends on the definition of benefit. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291374)

If you define benefit as the evil kind of benefit by which you abuse the control you have over a platform to lock the competition out and the customers in, create walled gardens, etc then Google won't benefit under this scenario. On the other hand if yu define benefit as denying your competition the evil kind of benefit, then Google will benefit immensely even if Bing and Baidu and Facebook choose android as their preferred platform.

Tag story FUD (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291530)

Android is open source, that means Bing, Baidu, Google or anyone can use it.

Which means the best usage wins. If another company can utilise and spread (make appealing) their version of Android better then Google then they will win over Google. End of story.

However, due to the same open source that gave any competitors access to what google has created Google will have access to what advancements competitors make.

Competition within the platform? interesting (4, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291388)

It's not like they would lose control over Android itself, since they are the primary developers. But I agree that its possible for them to lose control over the cashflow that Android generates, which is quite a different thing.

But this raises an interesting question. Google was surely aware of such a risk when they decided to open source such a high valued piece of software. They had to decide between giving away freedom and having an easier way for "android everywhere" (so they can flood the market with android), or have total control over the platform and do it in a more WP7-way. So why did they go with the first approach? How will they keep earning money off it if its open?

IMHO the answer is that it doesn't matter (to some extent) if the operating system is free or not. One of the things that make android so attractive (in terms of features) is google's services: Contact sync, app sync, android market, google voice, voice search, voice actions, google navigation, GMail and more cloud services which are to come.

Someone can "take" google's efforts - that means take the Android Open Source Project - and turn it into a phone with bing. Or yahoo maps, etc.. But they would need to compete with google in all fronts, with all its cloud services, etc.. Plus there are lots of apps which already work with google-propietary services like Google Appengine, Google Maps, etc... they are gaining lots of new users which are going mobile and using those services more and more. And its becoming more difficult for competitors to make a competing product because they can not only take Android and put bing search on it, they have to compete with Google in ALL fronts to make it really competent.

(of course thats my own opinion and view in all this, and all in all I like that android itself can bring competition within its own platform in the cloud level, which makes everything much more exciting for me as a user/consumer. I don't know if google really wanted to give away android for "the benefit of us all" but they could end up competing on their own platform as a result of it, and I think thats good)

PD: another interesting matter is what would happen if someone would make an android version that runs apps that aren't compatible with other android versions because they don't fulfill the OHA criteria and/or tests. In that instance I'd say that isn't Android anymore and could not be regarded as such, even if it was a fork of it

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291466)

PD: another interesting matter is what would happen if someone would make an android version that runs apps that aren't compatible with other android versions because they don't fulfill the OHA criteria and/or tests. In that instance I'd say that isn't Android anymore and could not be regarded as such, even if it was a fork of it.

In which case maybe Google would sue that someone for dilution of trademark or other issues.

PS: What does "PD" mean?

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291554)

PS: What does "PD" mean?

Maybe it was a typo of P.S. or PS?
Sometimes I can't tell my ess from a dole in the ground...

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291758)

PS: What does "PD" mean?

I just interpreted it as silly+happy emoticon for someone who has two mouths, and their eyes below their mouths.

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (1)

jplopez (1067608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291774)

> PS: What does "PD" mean?

"PD" means Postdata, from Latin "post datum" or "after date", and was a way to add some more information after a written letter, since you could not modify a message written with ink or typewriter. In electronic communications like email this is not necessary, so it's recommended to add a "PS", or "Postscript", "after the written".

PS: how convenient you asking what PD means in your PS... oh, wait!

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (2, Informative)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291856)

Postdata. I keep forgetting that its "PS" when writing english. Another slashdotter already explained below :)

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292388)

Postdata. I keep forgetting that its "PS" when writing english. Another slashdotter already explained below :)

I wasn't trying to be pedantic, and I gathered from context that it was probably equivalent to "post-script". I was just curious to know if it was a typo or a legitimate expression. Well, I learned something today.

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291548)

But I agree that its possible for them to lose control over the cashflow that Android generates, which is quite a different thing.

That's the thing about the business press - they think of the cash flow as the goal of any company's product, not the product itself. As geeks, we're more interested in the "Wow, 16Gb RAM the size of a potato chip!" But for business folks, that doesn't matter unless it is possible to make big bucks making and selling them.

Re:Competition within the platform? interesting (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292040)

In point of fact, positive cash flow *is* the goal of any for-profit company's product. A company that goes into business without paying attention to their expenses vs. their income will not remain in business.

Stupid waste (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291414)

All that time and money spent developing Android, and Google gets nothing from it. Why should they? They gave the whole thing away for nothing. Idiots.

Interesting ... but $100m is peanuts for Google (4, Interesting)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291438)

Having to pay Apple $100m annually for the search box is nothing, even though it is probably more than Mozilla gets. Google revenues are what, $28b annually? How much of that is due to being the default search engine in major browsers? They would probably pay 10 times as much if they were asked to, although perhaps not for the iPhone and iPad at this point ...

Open source and out of control ? (1)

hebertrich (472331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291498)

Well boo hoo .. :D ,although we do owe them thanks for their modest contribution to this great success.

Morons (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291500)

This just proves how little the Business community understands technology. Google could lose control of Android to Bing and Baidu if either of them were to come out with a superior product than Google. Anyone that has any sense with regards to the internet knows that Google is orders of magnitude superior to Bing. Baidu's only advantage is not having to comply with take down notices. Bing was able to make gains on Google only after Microsoft sunk ass loads on money into commercial advertising, all the while Google just sat back and watched. Has anyone ever seen a google ad? Google is the Mario Andretti of the search engine world, and Microsoft just came out with Ford Torus with a tail fin and a racing stripe.

Re:Morons (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291550)

This just proves how little the Business community understands technology. Google could lose control of Android to Bing and Baidu if either of them were to come out with a superior product than Google.

Of course... that's how Microsoft makes all of their money--from superior products. That's why so many people haven't bothered to upgrade to XP--because Vista was too good for them.

Has anyone ever seen a google ad?

Well, other than astroturfing on slashdot... Google has ads everywhere. They've branded the bejesus out of everything they've ever touched. (Not that I blame them--it's good marketing sense--but I'm simply flabbergasted that someone using a computer claims they haven't seen a google ad.)

Re:Morons (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291694)

Anyone that has any sense with regards to the internet knows that Google is orders of magnitude superior to Bing.

Why?

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292408)

Web, Images, Videos, Shopping, News, Maps, Gmail, Books, Finance, Translate, Scholar, Blogs, Updates, Youtube, Calendar, Photos, Documents, Reader, Sites, Groups, more...

Re:Morons (1)

TCPhotography (1245814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292094)

Has anyone ever seen a google ad? Google is the Mario Andretti of the search engine world, and Microsoft just came out with Ford Torus with a tail fin and a racing stripe.

Yes I have. Earlier this year, they ran one during the Superbowl.

Android Market (3, Insightful)

zlogic (892404) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291502)

Google gets a percentage from every sale in Android Market. Most apps that use AdMob ads also generate revenue for Google. In fact I think there aren't any AdSense ads in the mobile version of Google Search, so Google's loss in case Bing is used as the default search is ZERO.

Google Wins Searching (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291522)

The main reason for Google to produce and promote Android is so the mobile/embedded Internet isn't locked up, either by a monopoly (Apple/Nokia/Microsoft/telco) or by a technology (iOS, Symbian, Win7+). With a large minority, or even a majority, of non-desktops off Windows, Google is more likely to have more access to more content to index, and more searching to insert ads into. That is Google's core business, the only one that makes money, and it makes money by the bargeload. Google is the only truly cross platform Internet business other than eBay or any other site that isn't original content. Android makes the Internet more cross platform, so Google has more natural advantage in it. Even if Google doesn't control Android. In this way Google's strategy is just like Sun's Java strategy. And Google is sticking to it much more closely, unlike Sun which never became an "Internet company", but rather a company that the Internet benefited. Consider whether Sun (even as an Oracle division) would still have a future without Java, and whether Java would have as substantial a future without Android. Android free of Google (even more than Java is now free of Sun) would still benefit Google more than does Java free of Sun benefit Google, even as Java keeps Sun alive.

Risk? No, opportunity! (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291610)

I've never understood exactly why Google shoveled so much money into Android, and from what I hear from Android developers, they're not sure either.

Google sells ads; they're very good at it, and they have excellent margins. It's hard for them to find another business where they can make money as efficiently, so maybe they shouldn't bother. When they started developing Android, perhaps Google was worried that there wouldn't be good smartphone platforms that they could use to sell ads on, but that's not a worry now. Google doesn't care much whether you visit their sites or use their aps on an Android-powered phone or any other kind of phone; they get paid either way. If Microsoft or Baidu is willing to take over some or all of the cost of developing the software necessary for Google to serve ads to mobile users, Google would probably be delighted to let them.

Android Future is Here Now... (0, Troll)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291616)

& Equals Fragmentation.

The average person is going to start to look at all the different Android phones like I and so many people already look at media center/TV remotes.

They are ALL DIFFERENT, all hopelessly filled with buttons we never use and with frustrating results when we get into sub-choice menu situations where we can't easily figure out how to get back to where we wanted to be, which is usually just to a new station.

Consistency breeds a certain comfort level in being "competent" to figure out how to use a device. Car manufacturers figured this out over 50 years ago.

Deja Vu its Java all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291716)

You mean like Java and Sun?

Google competes on apps, not lock-in (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291822)

Google usually competes by trying to have better quality applications... starting with their search engine and extending to mail, maps, documents, etc. A competitor could try to replace all of these with better alternatives and it would be a good thing for competition and choice if they could do it but I don't think that Google is worried about this happening in the near future. They seem to keep producing compelling free applications that people adopt voluntarily on the open Internet, not because they are locked into some proprietary platform. If Microsoft can produce a better suite of apps and compete on the open Internet then we all benefit. However, Bing is not an auspicious start and the rest of their apps are far behind Google's offerings.

www.techknackblogs.com (1)

techknackblogs (1942142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34291840)

i really doubt tht google won't be benefitting.....they will have a massive ads network which inturn increase its revenue.. :)

Andori generally speaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34291968)

Personal opinion is that over the long haul, Android will NOT do well. They have not the control over the usage it. Look at the differences between carriers and handset makers in terms of crapware (do I hear Verizon????) and updates to O/S. That is why I think IPhone and Blackberry do so well: there is CONTROL over all aspects of the devices. That is also why I think Win Phone 7 will ultimatly do fairly well. (poor launch weekend did not help). All 3 require standardization. Sorry, deviated from the crux of the article

Harvard is full of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292016)

You have to love morons in business school who take their cues from the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages and believe that wealth comes from monopolizing information. Idiots. Free Market information, Open Source information, is the only reliable method to ensure development. During the Middle Ages in Europe when the Church funded and controlled scientific research and development the economic and social development stagnated. As the Renaissance and the sharing of technological information economic and social development has increased exponentially. As communication and sharing of technology has increased exponentially so has technological development. The last 500 years have seen incredible strides in both areas which are now threatened by MBA and PolSci morons who believe monopolizing information and technology is the key to the future. Harvard Business school is filled with morons who would have wonderful Cardinals in the European middle ages and who would gladly return us to those “Good Old Days”.

we all win (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292058)

Google wins with Android simply because Microsoft and Apple can't hold up app approvals for a year and a half or mess with Google's web sites. If they get any revenue out of Android, that's icing on the cake.

Yeah... (2, Funny)

Rip Dick (1207150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292148)

Cuz Microsoft is so good at seizing opportunities these days...

Old-fashioned world view (2, Insightful)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292406)

I don't think this aspect of the nature of Open Source Software has escaped Google. True, they did provide something that people can use against them, but Google's focus seems to be on growing the market, rather than going to war against a set of opposing corporations.

Without Android, the global touch-screen smartphone market would be a lot smaller than it is now, and much less search traffic would be coming Google's way.

Charles Stross might call this article the thinking of "zero-sum dinosaurs". Just because an action may profit someone else as well as yourself, that's not in itself a reason not to do it.

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