Why Samsung might be walking out on Android

Samsung's doing great with souped-up Android phones. So great they might leave Android behind.

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  • Side markets: With the official Android OS, it’s hard to close off certain apps and their offerings, or to lock in your own company’s music app and MP3 store as the primary tool for tunes. But look at what Amazon or Barnes & Noble have done with the Kindle Fire and the Nook (respectively): they’re “Android,” but they exist to sell and collect each maker’s offerings. Samsung has not looked at Amazon and Apple’s success and declared, “No, we’d rather not have that kind of diverse revenue, we’ll stick to razor-thin hardware margins.”

  • Paranoia: Google bought Motorola Mobility, and swore up and down that it would operate Motorola at an arm’s length: no exclusive access to Android versions, no favored status for Nexus device partnerships, and so forth. Samsung isn’t buying it. Samsung said it was looking forward to seeing Google utilizing Motorola’s patent portfolio to minimize Android litigation risks—but who isn’t looking forward to free things? Samsung executives have told CNET that they expect to be competing with Goog-orola directly when it comes to new phones and devices, and it’s hard to compete with the team that controls your software.

  • There’s a chance Samsung is still a happy Android partner, and just wants to tout its proprietary offerings above and beyond the general marketing points for Android. But there’s a much bigger chance that Samsung, emboldened by its recent successes and growing name recognition, will look at how proprietary profit is being made and move toward getting some of it.

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