May 28, 2010, 8:00 AM — Because this bothers me more than a little, I'm going to join in the multiple sites around the web pointing out Vic Gundotra (VP of Engineering, Google)'s little "date issue", (most notably, Matt Drance.) During his I/O Keynote, Gundotra said:
If we did not act, we faced a draconian future. Where one man, one company, one carrier was the future.
Wow, that's pretty heavy. Very emotional too, I mean there's Vic and Google standing alone against the evil Apple iPhone Empire. Also, pretty prescient.
In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc., a small startup company based in Palo Alto, California, USA. Android's co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV). At the time, little was known about the functions of Android, Inc. other than that they made software for mobile phones. This began rumors that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market.
There's not many ways that purchase makes sense other than Google was planning to get into the mobile phone market almost two years prior to the iPhone's release.
More to the point, look at that date: July 2005. You know what happened about two months later? Apple and Motorola released the ROKR E1. Don't remember that? If you don't, don't be surprised, it kinda sucked. In fact, it sucked so bad, that Apple stopped supporting it a year later. So let's be clear here: Google's purchase of Android not only predates the iPhone, but it predates the release of Apple's first, really bad attempt at getting involved with cell phones.
If anyone tries to tell me that Google seriously feared the ROKR, I'm going to need oxygen from all the laughing I'll be doing.
You're entitled to your own opinion Vic, but you're not entitled to your own facts. Although, were I paranoid, I'd wonder how long after the Android purchase Eric Schmidt began recusing himself from any and all discussions involving Apple getting into making cell phones. But since I'm cynical, not paranoid, I figure the answer is "not until he absolutely had to."
However, Android was not the start of Google's foray into the wireless and cell market. More interesting tidbits from the BusinessWeek article:
In May, [of 2005], Google acquired Dodgeball, a mobile social-networking service. Using a wireless device, users can send a text message to their circle of friends, announcing that they will be at a certain coffee shop or hangout. In addition, users can be notified if friends-of-friends are within a certain vicinity. Google has not disclosed how it will incorporate the Dodgeball offering into its services.
Huh. Yet by Vic's timeline, or at least its implication, until the iPhone, Google wasn't even thinking about getting into the cell market. It wasn't until Apple's Orwellian moves that they realized they had to do this for the good of all.
Pardon me, I'm choking on my own sarcasm.
Okay, better now.
Some might say that Vic couldn't know this, he didn't join Google until 2007. Some might need to wake up.
Google did not start Android out of altruistic intents. They are not crusading for the good of humanity. They bought, worked on, and now sell/license Android for the same reason Apple sells and markets the iPhone: To make money.
Don't confuse the faux-altruism of a $BIGCORP for Superman. Neither are real.