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November 14, 2012


John Waclawsky

@Earendil Star Don't you just love it when the trolls gang up and try support each other to defend/sell/shill etc. a utterly crappy MS windows phone. Its almost funny to read the nonsense except it is a pure waste of time. Look back over the years, every new Microsoft iteration is going to magically change the world. How many times have we heard that total nonsense with Kin, Zune, Win Mobile, WP 6.6 7, 7.5 8, ...10 I just laugh at these people LOL

Here's an insightful read that would be really powerful if someone updated it


RyanZA: "While it ultimately feels a bit unfortunate that the C64 (and symbian, blackberry, etc) went out of production, it was still a really good thing long term. For devs to make really good stuff, the less platforms the better, since each platform means more code, more bugs, different UI, etc etc."

Umm, so somehow monopolies are now good economics are they?

I consider the whole of the 90's to be a complete lost decade in computing terms - it wasn't until the internet came along that intel and microsoft's stranglehold on suppressive computing was challenged. And it lead to an explosion of ideas and money making opportunities which were not possible in that oppressive environment.

Having a single system also means products are limited to the capabilities of that single system and are subject to the whims of whomever controls it. The reason an Amiga or even a C64 could do multimedia much better than a PC of the corresponding era was because it had real-time features a modern PC still lacks.

Diversity is good, it allows experimentation and the exploration of niches - and there are plenty of programmers to fill every niche possible.

Monocultures are also too fragile, they turn into expensive exercises in keeping out the competition that harms everyone.

Android may not suffer from this so much because it is free and open - we already have multiple customised versions from multiple vendors - and even individual developers. Something totally unthinkable with any version of microsoft or apple os's.

This type of thing (well, linux really, together with hardware advances) is allowing a huge proliferation of new and innovative devices because the platform has finally been commoditised. Two years in it is already a much more interesting decade than the 90s was - lets just hope the patent wars don't wreck it.


quote "Tester the troll ....kinda rolls off your tongue. LOL At a minimum he and LeeBase seem to be Microsoft apologists"

I think only astrosurfer will have oppinion skewed toward Microsoft.

For me,
Screw Microsoft, I hope microsoft bankrupt for all the things they did (Novel, DR-DOS, OS/2, Sendo, Nokia). Microsoft Era = Dark Ages of competition... The bankrupt of Microsoft will lead humanity into new world/technology order.

And I really hope android win, because with android/opensource competition is on a new level.

Some company... for example, samsung could found a bug in android and fix it without the need of google to fix it (microsoft always took a long time to fix bug, glad their loosing the fight, microsoft = bad).

All company that use Android can compete, yet contributing at the same time... The power of open source is THE FUTURE.... The power of MicrosoftOS = past.


@Baron95 "These comments that Google will win the smartphone war is very funny."
@LeeBase "70% market share on a product they give away."

What you apparently miss is the fact that Android is bigger than Google.

Android is open source, it can survive if Google looses interest, or even if Google falls. Can you say the same about the relationship of manufacturers with Windows Phone? No, they are hostage of Microsoft. When Microsoft says "jump" they (particularly Nokia) ask "how high". Android manufacturers can simply fork the development as Amazon did. WHY WOULD A MANUFACTURER PREFER WINDOWS PHONE TO ANDROID?

That's the reason why Android is quickly becoming the Windows of mobile.


@notzed "Umm, so somehow monopolies are now good economics are they?"

It is better to have an open source monopoly, where everyone has fork, than a closed one.

Amazon forked Android. Anyone can do that.

"Diversity is good, it allows experimentation and the exploration of niches - and there are plenty of programmers to fill every niche possible."

Android allows diversity; Windows Phone doesn't. That's the reason why we see a flood of Android devices, occupying every niche imaginable. Some of them flop, some of them succeed. How can Microsoft mimic that?

Microsoft is trying to mimic Apple with a common standard for manufacturers. That's great for Microsoft, but terrible for the manufacturers, because there is so little space for differentiation.

When a company can't provide cost advantage nor differentiation, it is doomed to become a niche player.

Recommended read:


@notzed Microsoft having an economic monopoly was a very bad thing, since they could force people to use their software, etc. Platforms having a monopoly has pros and cons

Pros of platform monopoly:
1) Lots of developers since users can buy some software and know it will run
2) Well tested software since popular software on a monopoly platform is going to be hugely used/tested
3) Room for niche software - you can't make software targeted at a small customer base and then only be able to serve a small number of customers on a small platform

Cons of closed platform monopoly (windows, apple):
1) Platform developer can outmaneuver any competitors trying to use their platform
2) Slow innovation since enhancements to the platform are driven by only 1 company
3) Platform acts as a 'tax' - everyone has to pay the platform owner a tax even if they aren't using the platform fully (having to buy windows just to copy .dlls to your linux box to run some software, etc)
...) Tons more..

You could argue either way for pros-cons of the above. Some people think Windows was really good and helped computers grow fast, at least at the start. Personally I think it was a really bad thing though, mostly because of how MS (illegally) abused the platform monopoly...

However, Android is an open monopoly and none of those cons apply. So you get only the pros. Anybody can develop a brand new platform that can still run Android apps, etc, since they can just embed the open source dalvik into their OS. (Blackberry is heading this route)
I'm running MIUI on my Samsung phone currently, and it has very nice enhancements to Android such as blocking app permissions, ability to download full themes and customize the phone, etc.

So yeah, an open platform monopoly really is a good thing.


LeeBase> 70% market share on a product they give away.
LeeBase> Yes, folks, Android is far from having been proven to be a winner for Google.

They also "give away" a web-search-thing, and email. They just keep on giving, never asking for anything in return, total saints!

Google are advertisers, income does not come from us, WE are their product.


If Google had wanted to make money off Android it wouldn't be an open source platform.

It's also obvious that they didn't need Android to promote their services.

So what did they need it for? The most likely answer: To prevent Msft and Apple from dominating yet another market segment.

Do they have to fear Samsung? I doubt it. Samsung's revenues come from selling hardware mostly. They would ultimately risk more by walling themselves off.

Amazon is a bad comparison. Their main business is to sell content - and to promote that business they have to shut out Google and its services.



Problem for Samsung is that they need to have Google Apps / Google Market. To get those, they must play by Google's rules. Sure they can go ahead and make their own store and maps and everything, but Samsung has tried to do that before and failed (and even Apple has failed on the mapping side...). So Samsung can't easily push Google out of the picture without heavily annoying customers and pushing them to competitors. LG has hardware just as good as Samsung's. Samsung is thriving because their product is the best currently. If they drop Google, they no longer have the best product.

Long term they may need to drop Google, but this 'long term' is 5+ years and completely out of anybodies ability to predict right now...



Do you have any national or regional numbers for smartphone sales and platform adoption? I ask because I believe the world wide numbers are hiding what is happening in specific markets. For example, I believe China and India together represent over 1/3rd of the smartphone market and in those countries Android absolutely dominates, with some recent reports stating over 90% of sales. Obviously if China and India so heavily favour Android then Android's dominance in other countries/regions is less than the worldwide average. I know, for example, Android does not out sell iOS 2-to-1 in the US.

All that said, I have had a hard time finding exact numbers for China and India so I am hesitant to draw any strong conclusions. If you have and can share any of this data it would be greatly appreciated.



true, they can be ripped off, but not much.. this stuff is GPL, if it was BSD; it would be plain madness.

Samsungs alternative (Bada/Tizen or whatever it's called) is also Linux based, as we know it's usually just a matter of time before stuff that works on one Linux platform, works on all other Linux platforms as well. Even the tiny Meego community has started building a compatibility layer for Android apps (with no funding):

for now it's mostly Angry Birds, but this is destined to change. If you had some money to put behind it, it would be a matter of time, before Android apps ran fine on Meego/Tizen/Bada etc. and vice versa.

Google have already made their money back; they are now in so many pockets, and have access to location/email etc. that this is paid for ages ago. This is the real revenue, when Google knew nothing about users, their ads was worth 5 cents, now it's 5 dollars. The value of all that information can easily be seen by Google's attempts at buying/building facebook alternatives (orkut/googleplus).

A fishing-pole ad is pretty useless to someone who never fishes, but when you only show it to people who live places where they do a lot of fishing, and you know the person has called/emailed fishing-gear-stores etc, it's money..



No, it's not GPL. It is Apache (same as BSD). Samsung can very easily strip out all Google stuff and replace it all with their own stuff. Nothing stops them at all if they want to do that.


But Samsung is definitely not going to do this in the short term. Feel free to speculate on it if you want, but it is very much guaranteed that Samsung will be sticking with Google Apps for at least the next 5 years. (For Non-China markets only, though - for China, they may very well strip out everything Google if the cost of Google services exceeds the cost of doing that customization.)
Customers buying Android want all of their existing paid apps to carry across. They want their gmail to carry across. People would move to LG in a heartbeat to get access to Google services at present.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi gang

Nice discussion, keep it going.

First to regular visitors, I have hoped I would not need to make this comment, but here goes.. obviously its no longer possible to even try to respond to all comments. I love it that we get so many commments so often on the blog, but apparently the popularity of this blog is now so big, we get often so many comments, with what time I have, I won't have the chance to respond to everybody. I will still do my best. Trust me, I read every comment and take it in.

I will comment now more generally on a few themes that came out. Early in the comments was the debate about size of reach vs how easy is it to make money on the platform. Baron95 gave an often-repeated line by those who don't have the biggest platform, that their system allows easier chances to make money. Yes, that will be relevant to some, and even a winning argument to few, but as many pointed out in the comments like bjarneh - the most common interest, by developers, is whose platform reaches the widest. I trust even you Baron95 will begrudgingly admit, that it is often the clinching argument at developers - whatever your personal preference of what it SHOULD be might be - and that the biggest platform over time always gets the most developers. That is what history has shown, that makes economic commercial sense. But it does not mean, that for some the argument is not valid, where can we make easiest money or most money.

And with that, I would add, Blackberry is the lest not-dead of the small platforms, for that very reason, the big corporations are very reluctant to throw out their Blackberry OS investment, they take long time to decide and the platform is thus far more viable and can sustain short-term problems, and still survive. A consumer-oriented platform, if hit by sudden loss in popularity (witness Symbian, Palm) cannot recover..

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Google doesn't really a believer in Patent system. They believe by spreading the knowledge, innovation can be had at greater speed.... The idea is like a school, school/teacher doesn't hold back when teaching their student. And a teacher is succeed only if their student is become smarter than the teacher.... and this would benefit the ecosystem.... example. A teacher in medical teach all his knowledge, and the student find a cure to cancer, that in turn might help the teacher family.

Google believe in Open Source, and in open source by working together at the core level (OS), and competing at the user interface, it boost the speed of innovation. Thus would benefit Google.

I know for real capitalist, it's really hard to understand the essence of open source and afraid that open source would destroy the leading advantage of capitalist. I believe this is the reason that Microsoft destroy Nokia at all cost.

I, for one, really hope that astrosurfer like baron95 would look at Android vs. Microsoft at different angle. Because there is no benefit for them to think: I WOULD BUY WP8 EVEN THOUGH IT'S BAD, AND BECAUSE I THINK GOOGLE DOESN'T MAKE PROFIT FROM IT...

I really hope when they compare android vs. WP8, they would be honest and see which one is really best for them in short term and in 1-2 year.

Tomi T Ahonen

Then there was the comment about Android and Google's motivations.

Android is not there for Google to try to make money on the license (obviously) and here is the why. The mobile industry sits at the epicenter of digital convergence - most of my regular readers will know at least that I believe 100% this is true, and increasingly it is accepted by many futurists (but not all).

The critical central point of that digital convergence is the mobile service, that is delivered to our pockets through that gadget we call the mobile phone (increasingly, a smartphone). The one player, that has a certain path to that future is the carrier/operator who owns the spectrum and then builds a Billion-dollar network infrastructure with typically 10,000 base stations and antennas around the country, to serve their millions of clients. So if we look at mobile advertising or mobile banking or mobile commerce or mobile social media of the future, the only 'guaranteed' winner who will be there, is the evolution of what we now think of as the carriers/operators like Vodafone, Sprint, Telefonica, China Mobile etc.

That race is closed. If you were not there to buy the spectrum when the licenses came out, often a decade ago, you are now locked out. Apple cannot build a network on 4G and launch services on it. There is no spectrum. If there is a supplemental spectrum auction, as some countries have from time to time, then Apple could theoretically go try to bid for such a license and try to become a carrier/operator - but in so doing, they could at best gain a few countries, and lose the rest of the planet, as the other carriers/operators would immediately put all iPhones on sales boycott as they do not want handset makers becoming licensed operators/carriers.

Apple could also theoretically try to buy a carrier/operator, but it would amount to the same thing.

Now, what of Google. They were too late to try to outbid Vodafone or Telefonica or Orange or America Movil etc for 3G spectrum licenses, by the time Google figured out, they want to become a mobile company. They discovered a backdoor route to our pockets - Android.

Android is BY FAR cheaper way for Google to get into our pockets, than what Carlos Slim did by buying cellular telecoms operators/carriers in just about every Latin American country (and is starting to expand to Europe too). Google is, through Android, getting to 'have its cake and eat it too'. They 'cheated the system' and got into our pockets, without bidding for very expensive spectrum in auctions, and then building Billion-dollar networks across the planet. So this is actually a very clever ploy, to become a central player in the future of digital convergence. Don't ever expect Google to abandon the free Android model, and observe how stupidly Microsoft is killing what little chances it had, by insisting on the license fee. Google is inheriting the digital future, and Microsoft is pushing it away.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@bjameh "70% market share and rising, it really is hard to say."

LOL - If I spent $20B buying a refinery in Los Angeles and gave the fuel away, I bet I could achieve 70% fuel market share in that market.

Tell me what do you think Google's return on the $20B investment on Android is? Compare that to Apple. Apple in one quarter of sales recovers all the R&D and production investment they made on the iPhone 5 and then some.

And people here get upset that Microsoft is paying Nokia and Developers from a marketing fund to support Windows 8.

Google is in effect subsidizing all the Android OEMs to the tune of $20B. As a matter of fact, I'm quite confident that sooner or later, some government will file an anti-dumping law suit against Google. (For those who don't know, using profits from another product line to sell a product below cost to gain market share is dumping and is illegal in many jurisdictions)


One more thing i would like to add here...
Google is getting money for every apps you buy in the Android Play Store.
So, google GOT MONEY from android directly from user.

Microsoft with their WP8 is doing DOUBLE DIP.
they got license money from WP8 manufacture (nokia, samsung, etc)
and also got some cut when someone buy apps/music/magazine etc.

What Google doing with Android is like selling the FREEMIUM apps.
You give FREE GAMES, and got $$ from selling the cheat item.


4 bada . 5.2 M . 3.0 % ( 2.7 %)
5 Symbian . 3.4 M . 2.0 % ( 3.3 %)

me thinks there is typo in #4 or #5 (last % column).

Regards, Szymon.


sorry no typo, just tired :( please remove both comments.


To Lee's point re Samsung making a run at forking Android, all you have to do is look at Samsung SmartTVs and BlueRay Players.

Samsung has developed their own app stores, their own marketplace, their own developer program, etc. It would not be such a giant leap for them to expand that to Android tablets first, then Android phones. I'm not saying they will do it anytime soon (they are quite happy having Google subsidize their profits), but they'd absolutely do it if it were in their interest. For example, if China shuts down Google services, you can bet that Samsung would be at the ready with their own services to continue to sell phones in China.


@Baron95 and @LeeBase

You guys are talking about 'Google not winning' with Android, but you guys are way off here (and cycnus is way right).

Google gives away their search results and competes on the quality of the results. Googles gives away email etc and competes on the quality of the service. Google gives away Android and competes on the quality of the product. These are all identical business plans - they are all based off of one single aspect: quality.

Google believes that regardless of who they compete with on the market, the stuff with the Google brand is going to be what users want to use. The actual advertising and money is actually very secondary to this - Google could easily double their revenue in the short term by doubling up on ads, making movie ads part of their search, requiring users to enter a credit card to use Google search and then charging for information, etc. All of these would easily and enormously boost Google's profits for a few quarters.

Except, Google focuses on making their product the best possible product, and then tries to make money off it after the fact. This is actually very opposite to near all other businesses and is (probably) lowering their overall profits. Google's core strategy is clearly to have people using their stuff and then hope to make money off it down the line - the stuff comes first for Google, and only then do they work out the money.

So Google's view of their products is all about market share, and it obviously shows with most search (knowledge) going through Google, and now most people using Google/Android as their phone. So if you use Google's own measure, they are winning enormously with Android. The only way Google can lose is if customers prefer Samsung's software extras (email, maps, etc) over Google's software extras. This is very unlikely right now as Google's software is just leaps and bounds ahead in terms of mapping, app ecosystem and email.

In the future, Google can easily lose. The same can be for search - in the future, Bing could be improved until it is better than Google Search. Google believes they can make a better product than Samsung and Microsoft and so they compete directly with them on quality by providing the open underlying system for everyone to compete fairly on. Google isn't trying to make a direct profit off Android - they are trying to make a 'web browser' as they do with Chrome where Google services have at least an equal chance to be used over Bing or Samsung services. Once they have that open platform, they believe they will always win on quality.

So the only 'risky bet' Google is taking on Android is the same 'risky bet' they take on Search, Gmail and everything else Google makes - the risk that they can't compete on quality (it is a risk, but it's the risk that Google the company is founded and based on).


@RyanZA: the core of it is GPL (Linux kernel + drivers). What Google develops is Apache, but that cannot be taken and extended/modified, so it does not matter. Nobody is going fork the Android SDK and make some incompatible version annoying 600.000+ app-developers in the process, that would be pure lunacy.

Baron95> LOL - If I spent $20B buying a refinery in Los Angeles and gave the fuel away, I bet I could achieve 70% fuel market share in that market.

If that fuel only worked on your cars and you sold cars, that would not be a bad idea. The value of having knowledge of WHERE people are, WHO and WHAT they are emailing, WHAT websites/apps they use is important info. Google has literally increased the price on their ads by a factor of 100.

Google is not giving away anything, this is not a charity project, they have already been paid in full, and by making it open source, and by owning the largest appstore, it cannot move in 100 different directions forward, it can only move in one direction..


@Tomi - Yes, no argument there, the platform with the most users, all things being equal, typically gets the most developer attention. I was simply pointing out that not all things are equal. If iOS continues to outsell Android in the US and other advanced economies, it will continue to get more apps sooner than Android, even if Android owns 90%+ of the rest of the world market.

@RyanZA - Yes, you are correct. And that is Google's plan. But the fact remains that it is NOT PROVEN that they can recoupe the investment. Today, a miniscule amount of Google's revenue comes from a mobile user clicking on an Android app banner or search result. As a matter of fact, still today, there is more Google ad click through from iOS than from Android, since iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch users use the Web more frequently than android users collectively.

The point is that Apple launched the iPhone in close ties with Google. iOS search, maps, video (youtube) were ALL Google services.

Here is the often repeated Google return on investment argument with Android....Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, RIM (the pre-Android smartphone gods circa 2008), were *ALL* only focused on expensive devices and were *ALL* promoting a locked down platform. With Android, Google managed to promote an unlocked platform *AND* (here is the important fact) enabled a whole bunch of OEMs to jump in and *LOWER SMARTPHONE COSTS*. The benefit to google is more connected devices in the market (due to lower cost) doing searches, etc, etc.

They clearly achieved that - so they clearly achieved their immediate goal to have more Smartphones/SmartTablets sooner in the market.

But the question still remains. Would that ultimately result in more revenue to Google, to the point it can offset the $20B investment and the backlash from Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, etc removing Google from their devices? That is still very much an open question.


I really curios as why Baron95 would make a long debate on whether Google making money on Android, and defending that Nokia was making the right decision when elop announce the burning platform, and also defending Microsoft doing great, where in fact WP7 is a failure.

Why is it so important for Baron95 that Android with open source die, and Microsoft win...


Google mobile revenue for 2012 is expected to be 8 billion USD (up from 2.5 billion in 2011). Google typically keeps a 30% share of that revenue. So even if we put Android investment at 20 billion USD, it will be recovered in 2014 at current growth rates.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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