Saturday, April 14, 2012

Android, the puzzle of Google

If Android has attracted the majority of consumers with 50% market share, however, the economic picture is less bright for Google's mobile OS. So that some observers have questioned the relevance of the Google initiative: she would not have done better to stick to a more fruitful partnership with Apple?

Manufacturers routed

If Samsung can boast of record results, the result is much bleaker for others: HTC, however, proposed the first manufacturer to have an Android smartphone sees its sales Business collapse, Acer had a very difficult year 2011, only reviving the profits in the last quarter (its netbooks bear the brunt of the fierce competition of the iPad.

And it fails to sell its own shelves), LG has unscrewed world's fifth largest handset manufacturers and has suffered almost a billion dollars in losses on its branch smartphones, Sony Ericsson experience has turned vinegar (Sony resuming its independence following results on capilotade in 2011, Sony Ericsson also publishes reading bad results), and Motorola Mobility is so that it has found the hello that is redeeming in Google. And sum, among manufacturers, Android will really far succeeded only Samsung, and again. According to Canaccord, despite its 8.1% market share in mobile phones, Apple had assumed for 80% of the profits of any industry in the last quarter, leaving only the remaining 20% share among all others (including 15 for Samsung). As for the field of tablets, no manufacturer seems to arrive to begin the domination of the iPad. 

Worse, Android was as free of this "hidden" costs, since Microsoft has managed to successfully obtain licensing agreements for a growing number of Android manufacturers, whose eleventh and latest is none other than LG (read Android: Microsoft adds LG to her purse). The Redmond company said that 70% of Android phones sold in the U.S. brought him royalties ... If we add the numerous legal proceedings arising from Android, Apple is not including any complainant, the record of the transaction is far more than disappointing for most manufacturers.

Developers in distress

The proverbial opening of Android, anything more challenging, have been seduced more than one developer. Alas, here too, the business is not good. The development of an application for Android is much more lengthy and costly than iOS, since we must adapt to the plethora of devices, versions of the OS in operation, and some 90 App Store available for this platform, not to mention the hypothetical availability of Google services according to the agreements related with the manufacturer. Work even more thankless than the Android user is typically slower to open their wallets as iOS (which is worth three to four times more than the same application for Android, Android Market by reading The loss speed). Despite this laborious work, the simple fact it ignores some models, be they a minority, triggering a storm of scurrilous emails users left on the side. 

Their work is proving a real priesthood, the enthusiasm of developers for Android is steadily being eroded (read interest for Android developers is shrinking), while others just throw in the towel. A big enough concern that Google replaces the head of the Android Market (Android Market The read head changes). It is fortunately the advertising model, which is conveniently well the affairs of Google, but it condemns applications to a certain level of popularity to be profitable, while adjusting the selling price of an application allows optimize its economic performance.

Users hostage

On the user side, Android is not without drawbacks. If the Google OS will be allowed to get fully subsidized smartphones before Apple does not allow to do the same with the iPhone 3G, and as such alternative that can benefit them as it n 'the fact remains that in some respects Android users have reason to feel left out: operators and manufacturers not only had the flexibility to deliver devices with promotional applications preinstalled, but worse, it was even impossible to remove, at least until Android 4. The latest update offers indeed more freedom to the user, should still be able to install: programs update still remain fearful, even on devices from a few months. And even if manufacturers do they provide the necessary efforts, sometimes it is simply operators that do not transmit to their subscribers. Morality, then ECI Cream Sandwich is on the market since last October, only 2.9% of Android users to benefit today. And not having the latest OS, users are therefore prohibiting the use of some applications which may require it. ER-REUX Operators...!

The big winners of Android are undoubtedly operators: providing an alternative to stem the tidal wave iPhone when it was under an exclusive contract with a competitor, it also allows them to maintain a greater control over their subscribers than is possible the iPhone. Android also offers operators a cons-power that allows them to contain the influence of Apple. Small wonder, then that operators are quick to recommend an Android phone rather than an iPhone to their subscribers, especially Apple stubbornly diminish their control with each new version of IOS, shifting more services they charged to the unit free features built into the system and passing through the data plan. In this regard, Google is a much more docile partner.

Google in all?

The Android's market share is at least likely to benefit Google: the mobile system will benefit more users, more likely the public will receive its many advertisements. Remember that there is the economic model of Android. Despite this, Google does not take advantage of that $ 550 million profit for the three years of operation of Android. One figure particularly modest when compared with $ 38 billion of turnover achieved in 2011 on its entire business. More humiliating still, Google is making more money with IOS with its own mobile system: it reported last year that two-thirds of its revenues came from mobile OS from Apple. The operation is far from be profitable, even less if we reported that Google Pharaonic spending conducted for Android: Android also purchase, Inc. in 2005 for an amount remained secret, patent to IBM for an altogether too mysterious, and $ 12.5 billion invested in Motorola, one must also count the years of work invested in the development of the operating system since 2005. These expenses seem a very big sacrifice to do finally obtain that $ 550 million in all and all it will take years to recoup this investment in an annuity. Knowing that a user of Google Android refers to $ 10 per year in advertising revenue (about a third of what a PC user brings him), he will gain a wider audience to expect break even.

In fact, these figures give an overview of the other 50% market share of Android, which are but one "victory" of facade, devoid of meaning. So that various observers have questioned the relevance of Android: at that rate, Google would probably have done better to stay in the good graces of Apple.

For the "betrayal" of Eric Schmidt has convinced Apple to reduce the area of
​​partnerships with Google in retaliation: she made several acquisitions in the field of cartography that appear aimed at eventual replacement of Google Maps on iOS workforce already in iPhoto (iPhoto to read IOS does not use Google Maps). Worse yet, Apple is going to tackle the heart of Google's trade with Siri, who "disintermediated" searching the Internet. Even Mountain Lion offers video sharing via Vimeo integrated all software, even to the exclusion of YouTube (except for specific applications such as QuickTime Player that offer it always). Not to mention that Apple has even launched (with varying degrees of success) in direct competition with Google by launching iAds.En focusing on Android, Google is therefore likely to kill the goose that lays golden eggs, while polishing up weapons to its own competitors: Android has been harnessed by Amazon or Barnes & Noble without even allowing Google to benefit from any economic benefit, as these versions have not only been cut by all Google services, but even the Market. The creature escapes: Google no longer controls its OS. This is more than one platform, but a conglomerate of more or less heterogeneous platforms ... and compatible. The brand Android no longer providing the consumer full access to its ecosystem. The situation is worrying enough for Charlie Kindel predicts that Google is preparing to divest from Android to offer a version that would be exclusive now, by going it alone on the Google brand play.

The economic record is certainly not the brightest for Google, but it would be short-sighted as to stop there. Google had really no choice but to launch its OS independence mobile.

If one can recognize deserves to Google, that's probably it was the first to understand the upheaval embodied by the iPhone. All the indicators show: mobile devices are expected to exceed the classical computer for web access. To keep its leading place on the web, Google had to invest this new stronghold before being overtaken by the band. But unlike computers that leave it open to users, Google could simply be dictated by its user’s access to any intermediary: it would leave its fate in the hands of partners bulky. Apple decides tomorrow, by whim or for any other reason, to do without Google, and that was the end of his domination on the web.

And Google does is not really hidden. At the Google I / O 2010, Vic Gundotra Andy Rubin quoted in these terms: "If Google did not act we would face a draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one device, one operator was our only choice. This is a future which we do not want. "

Certainly, Google wins now probably less money than if she had wisely contented market of the iPhone. But she has gained in exchange something far more valuable: its autonomy and independence. And if he has many problems to solve on Android, at least not depend upon person to deal with. In a market as strategic as the mobile Internet, it is worth all the gold in the world.

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