When it Comes to the Success of Android, Samsung Pretty Much Owns Google
By: Hillel Fuld
In the mobile world, much has been said about the comparison of the different platforms and how the market share will pan out in the coming years. Everyone is talking about iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc. What people tend to ignore is the increased leverage that companies like Samsung have over Google and the success of its operating system, Android.
Before we take a look at the numbers, if you have been paying attention, you surely noticed that Samsung releases more devices on a daily basis than Apple has released since 1976 when it was founded. And no, I am fairly sure that is not an exaggeration. Samsung has a mobile device in every shape, color, and size including feature phones, smartphones with keyboards, smartphones with touch screens, smartphones with two screens, tablets, mini tablets, etc.
But how strong is Samsung's grip on Google when it comes to Android's absolute dominance? in one word? Very!
55% of all Android phones sold globally are made by Samsung... 55%! Now, you tell me, if you had a company that had 55% of its revenue dependent on any company, would you be comfortable with that?
Well, Android is obviously available on other phones as well including HTC and Motorola, so surely, this dependency will decrease in the near future, right? Wrong! HTC's unit volume was 10m units this quarter, down from 13.2m in Q3; Motorola got 10.5m units in Q4, down from 11.6m in Q3. Things are not looking good for most companies that placed all their eggs in the Android basket. Most, but not all! Samsung will earn $4.5 billion in operating profit this quarter, which is about 10% more than analysts expected (according to Reuters), and 22% higher than Q3.
Samsung passed Apple last quarter as the number-one smartphone maker in the world according to one estimate, and analysts are expecting big growth. So, Samsung, as The Guardian points out, is in an ideal place to twist Google's arm, and all Google can do at this point, is give Samsung the other arm to twist. The question is, what is Samsung after?
No one knows the answer to that question, but Google, with many people calling "bluff" on its "open" card, plus its very severe fragmentation problem, and the latest rumors of Samsung branching off with its own OS, Tizen, to top it all off, should have Google worried if not downright terrified of Samsung's next move.
Oh, and I didn't even mention the fact that Samsung is also busy manufacturing devices for the growing Windows Phone platform, which gives it yet another bargaining card if it ever decides to bump heads with Google. People like to take Android's throne as an absolute given that cannot change in the near future, but I think these numbers paint a different picture of just HOW easily Google can be dethroned.