Why The Google Nexus One Will Kill The Android Platform

Google this past week released the Android based Nexus One to the world. Google thinks that this is the best thing since sliced bread. But I think that this is a horrible idea for Google. In fact, it’s so bad that I think that it will kill the Android platform. Does that sound extreme? I don’t think so. Here’s why I think that this is the case:

  1. Google has spent the last year trying to woo mobile phone companies to use Android. Now that many (Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Sony just to name four) have signed on the dotted line and released phones with Android on it, Google comes out with their own phone. If I was one of those companies, I’d be a bit ticked off since I’ve just been shafted by Google. Even Microsoft with Windows Mobile isn’t stupid enough the screw their partners like this.
  2. The Nexus One has a version of Android that is very different and much more advanced than anything that anyone else currently offers. So they’ve effectively kept the best for themselves. When you take into account that Google said that the whole idea behind Android was to make the mobile phone market more open. It doesn’t sound open when you don’t share the cool stuff with your partners. Now to be fair, Google did hint that they’ll offer this version of Android to their partners. But it’s not going to make them feel better.
  3. Google defends the fact that the Nexus One exists by saying that they’re not competing against their partners because according to Andy Rubin who is the VP of Engineering at Google they don’t make their own hardware (that’s because HTC builds the phone). That my friends is semantics, and semantics is a nice way of saying that they’re shoveling bullshit. When you take item 1 and 2 into account, how can they not be competing against their own partners? To say otherwise is simply disingenuous. That’s a nice way of saying that it’s a lie.
  4. Google has it’s own distribution channel as they’re selling the phone direct in a handful of countries unsubsidized. Of course you can buy it from some carriers such as T-Mobile in the US with a subsidy. But who’s going to do that as it’s likely that you’d be on some sort of contract to get the subsidy? Not many I would suspect. That’s going to make carriers really happy….. NOT! Now I’m not saying that mobile phone carriers are the greatest companies on Earth. They’ve often been the exact opposite in fact. What I am saying is that Google is really screwing them which is a really bad idea.

All of that means that Google has really dug a grave for itself. They’ve burned so many bridges that I can’t see how Android can be a success.

I suspect that Apple and RIM are watching and loving the fact that their biggest threat has shot itself in the foot like this.

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