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Somewhere Tim Cook and Stephen Elop are laughing

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google Inc. (GOOG) is holding an emergency summit at the 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.  At the mobile industry's top trade show, Google is reportedly meeting with Android phonemakers like HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) about fighting back to prevent Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) from gaining too strong a dominant position in the Android market.

I. One Company to Rule Them All?

Samsung currently accounts for 40 percent of Android sales -- more than any other company.  It's also easily the most profitable of any Android device-maker.

Some analysts think Google is fearful that Samsung will leverage its powerful position to try to get a bigger cut of Google's slowly growing mobile ad revenue stream.  Sources claim that Samsung currently gets around 10 percent of the revenue from clicks on its devices.  A bump to Samsung's take-home percentage could help offset per-device payments it has to make to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) for intellectual property licensing.

Google hopes to make $8B USD in 2013 via mobile advertising on Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and Android.

Andy Rubin
Andy Rubin reportedly warned Android phonemakers not to let Samsung get too powerful.
[Image Source: The Next Web]

At a closed-door event, the WSJ reports that their source was in attendance and heard a presentation by Android Chief Andy Rubin.  Mr. Rubin allegedly praised Samsung's success, but warned that it could be a "threat" if it furthered its dominant position.  Google is reportedly eyeing offerings like HP's $169.99 USD upcoming Android slates.

Samsung in 2012 was the biggest smartphone shipper, shipping 215.8m smartphones, almost all of which ran Android.  By contrast, Apple "only" shipped 136.8m iPhones.  Samsung hopes to ship 390m smartphones in 2013.

In 2011, Samsung only accounted for 15.6 percent of Android tablets, but in 2012 it advanced to 27.9%, becoming a major player according to Interactive Data Corp. (IDC).  Samsung passed Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) in Q4 2012 to become the largest Android tablet seller (Amazon uses a modified Android build in its "Fire" tablets).  Samsung just revealed the Galaxy Note 8.0, a hot tablet that is vying with Apple's iPad Mini.

II. Samsung Could Seek Alternatives

If Samsung reacts badly to Google's efforts to keep it in check; it could jump ship to one of a couple rising platforms.  It already has made Windows Phone devices and has a good relationship with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  Alternatively, it could opt to test the waters with a Mozilla OS device (Samsung's South Korean counterpart LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) is doing precisely that).  And then there's Tizen, a mobile Linux kernel that Samsung is co-developing with Intel Corp. (INTC).

For now, Google and Samsung are united by their common enemy: Apple.  Samsung will launch its counterstrike against the iPhone 5 on March 14 -- the Galaxy S IV.

Samsung Galaxy S IV
In March Google and Samsung will collaborate on the massive Galaxy S IV launch.
[Image Source: AndroidSpin]

A leaked spec sheet has been circulating which claims the hot handset will pack:

• 4.8-5.0-inch 1080p display
• Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
• 1.9GHz Qualcom Snapdragon 600 processor
• 2GB RAM
• 16/32/64GB storage options
• Removable SD card slot (up to 64GB)
• 13MP rear-facing camera, w/ "Orb" technology for compressed panorama shots
• 4G LTE support
• Multi-purpose / Dedicated camera button
• Bluetooth 5.0
• 3100 mAh battery

Will the Galaxy S IV be the last major effort between Google and Samsung?  It's possible, but at this point it's likely the pair's ties that bind are stronger than those that separate.

Source: WSJ



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RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Trisped on 2/26/2013 5:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
It is much more likely that Samsung will get big and force out all other phone and tablet manufactures. Then it will start gouge customers since it has a monopoly and no one can stop it.

A free market requires competition to work correctly.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By insurgent on 2/26/2013 6:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A free market requires competition to work correctly.


The free market made Samsung successful. This is ironic because Google is in a similar situation in web search, and they defend their hugely dominant position and then want to keep Samsung in check because they're successful in the Android ecosystem.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Reclaimer77 on 2/26/2013 6:38:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
then want to keep Samsung in check because they're successful in the Android ecosystem


Based on the article. However I believe there's an unhealthy amount of speculation involved here. We don't REALLY know the facts or the purpose of this "secret" meeting (it's so secret, it's already on Daily Tech lol).

It could be that Google wants to find ways to raise up the other guys, not "keep Samsung in check". We just don't know.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By insurgent on 2/26/2013 7:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It could be that Google wants to find ways to raise up the other guys, not "keep Samsung in check". We just don't know.

Yes, my reply was related to that assumption. HTC was the Android OEM before the Galaxy S, they should figure out exactly why their mind/market share weakened.

Could be their choice of hardware, their devices' reliability, marketing (or lack thereof), after-sales support, being Verizon's b!tch, locked bootloaders, etc.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Trisped on 2/27/2013 10:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
From what I saw, HTC hit some hard times due to new competitors and then Apple hit it with a bunch of law suits. HTC is a small company and probably could not afford to fight the suits and advertise products which could not legally be shipped into the country.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By NellyFromMA on 2/26/2013 10:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
An unhealthy amount of speculation? lol aren't you typically guilty of exactly that?


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Reclaimer77 on 2/27/2013 12:53:30 PM , Rating: 1
Wow Nelly that added soooo much to the discussion. Ty


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By ritualm on 2/27/2013 3:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The free market made Samsung successful. This is ironic because Google is in a similar situation in web search, and they defend their hugely dominant position and then want to keep Samsung in check because they're successful in the Android ecosystem.

Or it could very well be that Google is aware what would happen if Samsung starts calling the shots over what goes into the next Android OS releases.

It's a matter of when Seoul starts demanding that their needs take precedence over everyone else's because of their share of Android OS users versus HTC et al. When that happens, Google stands to lose a lot, as it either has to conform with Sammy's demands or risk losing the flag bearer.

Also, Samsung is one of the extremely rare few tech companies that are highly vertically-integrated, and able to build entire products in-house. You can practically liken them as the technology version of ConAgra, Archer Daniel Midland, etc. It's immensely powerful, and it has the South Korean government in its pocket - a very dangerous combination methinks.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By BifurcatedBoat on 2/26/2013 6:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Who's going to go for that? Are you going to buy a Samsung device if it's not compatible? Even with 40% of the marketshare, that's still less than half. Amazon forked Android to make the OS for the Kindle Fire, but it hasn't stopped Android.

In fact, if they don't keep their forked version up to date, they risk losing a lot of the value that they were offering in an Android tablet.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By RufusM on 2/27/2013 3:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
Google's trump card are it's services and Googlerolla. At this point Google has enough consumer mindshare/installed base to make it work without Samsung for Western markets if they have to.

I do think Samsung could use their Tizen OS and offer all sorts of services to developing markets. Samsung has enough money and partnerships to provide developing markets with the services that Google provides today: email, search, apps, maps, social, etc.

Chinese makers have already been toying with Android forks for the Chinese market and replaced everything Google with everything Baidu. There is also Amazon and Barnes & Noble with their tablet/reader Android forks.


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