Oct 03 AT 3:26 PM Dustin Earley 23 Comments

Google still not ready to play favorites, but why?


Whenever Google is put in the hot seat and questioned on the future of the company in a post-Motorola purchase world, they give the same answer: “We won’t play favorites in the way people are concerned about.” Every time I see this, I can’t help but wonder why Google, (or Schmidt, in this case) leaves out the qualifier “…for now.”

During an October 1 interview with Bloomberg TV, Google’s Eric Schmidt reiterated the Big G’s commitment to the current Android ecosystem by saying,

The Android ecosystem is the number one priority, and we won’t do anything with Motorola--or anybody else, by the way--that would screw up the dynamics of that industry. We need strong, hard competition among all the Android players. We won’t play favorites in the way people are concerned about.Eric SchmidtGoogle

Schmidt then goes on to say that the patents acquired in the deal will help competition, which he speculates will bring about a rough truce between rival companies and push the market to level out. But what will Google really do with a hardware manufacturer? As often as Google execs mention how important it is to maintain the current Android model, they mention that the Motorola acquisition wasn’t just about the patents. In fact in this particular interview, Schmidt said that “the majority of the reasoning” behind the purchase is that Google has a lot to gain by partnering with a company that knows “how to build the next generation of tablets and phones.” Google was actively seeking a company that builds phones and tablets just to share the knowledge they can gain by working with them, right?

Even if Google is refusing to admit the positive impact that a full-blown Google manufactured device could have on the company, other manufacturers know it. Rumors that current Android manufacturers are seeking software alternatives are nothing new. Samsung, HTC and even Amazon have all been pegged as looking for their own operating system. By controlling the hardware and software of your device, companies are able to control the entire experience their product offers. Google may be saying that their commitment to the current Android ecosystem is what will keep companies like Samsung coming back for more. But for now, it’s a lot simpler than that. It’s all about the money.

Samsung already owns their own operating system, and they make handsets running Windows Phone OS as well. Yet they put more money into advertising and developing for Android. Manufacturers won’t actively dedicate all their resources to an alternative operating system until Android stops being profitable. If Google did give Motorola (their own) devices first access to new firmwares, would Samsung’s phones stop selling? Would HTC no longer be able to make sales by boasting the benefits of using Sense over stock Android? And how would a true Googorola device be any different than a Nexus, anyhow? Google says they aren’t playing favorites (for now); that much is clear. But when will they start? I have a feeling 2012 is going to be an interesting year.

Source: Bloomberg

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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    great article… my personal opinion it is a matter of time.. especially if the iphone 5 sells very well

    • BiGMERF

      with that said.. If google were to make Moto manufacture only pure android products I would not get another brand.. period

    • ags29

      It’s true. A lot of Android fanboys don’t like to admit it, but a lot of what goes on in the Android world is in reaction to the iPhone. I can’t wait ’til tomorrow to see what they bring out; it’ll only push the competition (Samsung, HTC, etc.) to bring out better Android devices.

      Maybe one day Google will get sick of seeing manufacturers build good devices that they could make even just a bit better. Then, hopefully they’ll say “F*** it! We’re bringing out an official Googlerola device.” That’ll be the day.

      • Mark

        Oh, please. iPhone reacts more to Android than the other way around. The only thing Android reacted to iPhone for was by getting into the smartphone game. After that, the iPhone has been playing catch up. The MSM refuse to acknowledge that another smartphone is actually better than their precious iPhone. When you show them a feature on Android that iPhone doesn’t have, they say “but why would I want that. I’m happy with my iPhone anyway”. When Apple releases the same feature and says “It’s magical”, all the fanboys go “ZOMG!!! I can’t believe how I ever lived without it”. Just look at all the hoopla surrounding mere folders and multitasking. It’s a shame.

        • themanwithsauce

          Welcome to the free market ladies and gentlemen, friends and neighbors. All smartphone makers have either emulated what others have done successfully (Apple, Android) or died a slow and painful death (Nokia, Palm/HP). Granted Nokia isn’t technically dead but in terms of smartphones….Symbian is not a factor anymore. The N900 was never a real success (almost got one but got an OG droid when I read you had to basically hack the OS to send picture messages, I have yet to regret that decision)

          2012 will indeed separate the players from the has beens as we enter the age of rapid evolution. Will the iPhone finally get 4G/multi-cores? How much longer can they survive on only one new design? Will the android ecosystem continue rapid growth? Will windows mobile actually make a comeback? ANd what of the phone manufacturers? Can HTC and Samsung really make their own OS in an environment that has not been friendly to those not Android or Apple (windows is hanging on but only just….)

          Tune in next time for another thrilling episode of – SMARTPHONE WARS!

        • ags29

          Typical biased argument. Just admit that they react to each other, you won’t lose any pride, I promise. I am definitely an Android fan, but I also appreciate what Apple has done with the iPhone and how it has influenced innovation on the Android side.

          I do agree with you though that many Apple fanboys are clueless zombies who will fall for anything Apple markets as “magical.”

          • Usman Ansari

            Exactly… and isn’t THAT the definition of COMPETITION?! Competitors, by definition, try to outdo each other.

  • SherlockHomeboy

    What Google should do is continue to give all OEMs access to the source code at the same time but push Motorola into making better and better devices which should force HTC and Samsung to start making better devices as well in order to compete. Google can force competition if they do it right.

    • CTown

      I doubt Google is going to do that. We already know that Google and Samsung worked together on Touchwiz 5. There is little doubt that Motorola will probably have access to Android releases before MOST (if they didn’t already). Most being the keyword here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung, Motorola, and HTC have been getting the source of all of the of Android versions before the majority of OEMs do. And that was and still is playing favorites!

    • Richard Yarrell

      Not sure what world you live in but Samsung and Htc have been pitted against one another in this game of innovation for years now. It’s they who drive the android market not motorola. You can even say that without htc there is no android as far as I am concerned. Comparing any htc handset to anything made by motorola at best would be a farce. Samsung has stepped there game up emensely since 2010 and it will be both samsung and htc that will bring the first android 5inch phone/tablet to market in 2012 and it will be a quadcore device runing 2.0Ghz processor with 1.5gb of ram. To be fair the Galaxy Note is already abroad just haven’t made it out here yet so samsung has a head start. Trust me motorola will benefit from google buying them but they need the help the most out of all the manufacturers cause every device they make never added up to nothing that anyone benefitted from.

      • Richard Yarrell

        Plus we won’t even get into motorola’s sorry standing in the industry when it comes to updates. Google better help motorola cause in that arena they are the worst ever. Nobody does updates better than HTC period..

        • BiGMERF

          The original droid got lots of love

        • josegb2011

          HTC made the first android phone yes, but the company that jump started android was Motorola,you forget without Motorola android phones may not be as popular or been pushed more into what they are today..HTC has made a great contribution as well as Samsung to the OS we all love but Motorola deserves their praise as well..

          • astria

            the Droid jump started Android, but that’s in the US only… if u really want to argue along this line, the phone that jump started Android in the rest of the world are Nexus One and HTC Desire…

            i know CMStats does not reflect an accurate picture, but at least it offers a rough idea… 79k installs in Bravo (Desire GSM) vs 19k installs in Sholes (Droid)…

            the Milestone series is almost non-existent in the GSM market…

        • Dick

          How’s that update for the Thunderbolt coming along?

      • squiddy20

        You MUST be forgetting that it was Motorola and Verizon that brought the “Droid” name, and therefore Android as a whole, to prominence. Sprint’s marketing of their phones pales in comparison to Verizon/Motorola’s “Droid” ad campaigns. For every Sprint ad I see, I usually see at least 4 Droid ads.

        And you obviously missed the point (as usual) of SherlockHomeboy’s comment. I guess you’re too stupid (or ignorant) to understand it. Which is a shame because it was put in very simple, easy to understand terms. The world is bigger than HTC/Sprint. Why don’t you go to school and figure that out for yourself?

        “You can even say that without htc there is no android”
        THAT is an outright LIE!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What a moron!!!

        • astria

          the first Android phone is made by HTC, period…

          • squiddy20

            Ok. While I accept that, the fact remains, there are many other manufacturers contributing to Android other than HTC. His statement of “You can even say that without htc there IS (present tense) no android” is absolutely absurd and a complete falsehood. Had he said, “…without htc there *would have been* no android” I might’ve gone along with it. But even then, if HTC hadn’t been first, I know some other manufacturer (Samsung or Motorola probably) would have stepped up to the plate.

      • asdf

        Hey, Dick.

      • Sleepthieves

        God Richard you are such a fanboy its sickening. All your positive statements mostly make sense but then you gotta start runnin your mouth with broad over generalizations about phones you’ve probably never owned since you obviously would have bought the HTC equivalent at each opportunity. Motorola developed the Droid which was like having Usain Bolt as your second man in a baton race (read phone OS race), start slow then bam! blow away the competition for a minute. Motorola isnt the most reliable manufacturer or my favorite phone maker either but at least I give them credit where credit is due.

      • Usman Ansari

        The OG Droid is what made Android mainstream man… I’m not saying Moto makes better devices than Samsung and HTC, but give credit where it’s due.

    • ihatefanboys

      HTC already makes awesome devices, its motorolla and samsung that need to make better devices to the same level that HTC does.

  • Interpol91

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next year. As long as Moto makes better phones that both look and run good I wouldn’t mind them playing favorites. Samsung already takes forever to push out updates anyways.