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Motorola puts blame on Google for lag on Android updates

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
A Motorola Mobility executive has said Google's practice of creating a flagship model for each software update for its Android mobile operating system is the reason that vendors have a hard time keeping their devices up to date.

Christy Wyatt, senior vice president and general manager of Motorola's Enterprise Business Unit, pointed a finger at her employer's future parent company in an interview with PC Mag earlier this week. According to her, optimizing Android to specific hardware profiles is a difficult task that handset makers must deal with after Google releases the software into the wild.

"When Google does a release of the software ... they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped," she said. "The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it. Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It's a big machine to churn."

After support is finished for a handset's hardware, Motorola's custom software must then be added before the devices are re-certified by carriers, she said. Working with carriers also makes it difficult for Motorola to provide specific projections on when the updates for its devices will arrive.

"I would have to know that every single operator I have is going to want to upgrade every single product, and sometimes they'll want to control the timing ... it's just not easy to make that blanket statement," she told the publication.

Wyatt did boast that Motorola has beat out its competitors on multiple occasions. "More than once we've come out as the fastest to get to market with an upgrade," she said.

Several Android vendors, including Motorola, spoke up late last year to explain why the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update would take months to arrive on their own devices. At the time, Motorola also attributed the delay to Google's decision to work with one device partner for a "Google Experience Device."

Though Motorola may be hoping to get an earlier look at Android software once Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of it is completed, Google has said it will run Motorola as a separate business and Android will "remain open."

In fact, Google has sent mixed messages about what exactly it intends to do with Motorola. A blog post from CEO Larry Page shortly after the deal was announced implied that the acquisition was mainly about shoring up Google's intellectual property portfolio to protect it from legal attacks by Apple and Microsoft. Chairman Google Schmidt, however, has emphasized the move was about more than just patents, as Motorola "has some amazing products." Meanwhile, Motorola competitors have said that Google reassured them that it would not become a "hardware manufacturer" by acquiring Motorola.

Samsung could stand the most to lose if Google begins to favor Motorola, as it has grown to become the world's second-largest smartphone largely by piggybacking off the Android platform. The South Korean handset maker has reportedly moved to strengthen its Bada smartphone platform and signed a patent licensing deal with Microsoft because it was unsure of the future of its relationship with Google.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 47
The irony with how Moto feels. Funny considering XDA devs can bring updates to phones, *relatively* bug free in less time than OEM's can
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post #3 of 47
Ultimately Moto is to blame Christy, since it was their decision to outsource OS to a third party or not, and they have to answer to their customers for that, and blaming the subcontractor is a cop out.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Google has said it will run Motorola as a separate business and Android will "remain open."



Strange bedfellows!
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post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolaaron88 View Post

The irony with how Moto feels. Funny considering XDA devs can bring updates to phones, *relatively* bug free in less time than OEM's can

The slaves at XDA don't have to worry about dealing with customers when things like the camera or phone calls don't work due to various drivers not being properly coded.
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post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The slaves at XDA don't have to worry about dealing with customers when things like the camera or phone calls don't work due to various drivers not being properly coded.

yea but teams like CM do bug testing BEFORE they release anything beta...they do release RCs but not betas or alphas even.

If they can do it in their free time a large billion dollar corporation can.

Now I'm sure, and I've said before (maybe not here) that Google can do a lot more to appease their customers' customers but to solely blame them is ridiculous.
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The slaves at XDA don't have to worry about dealing with customers when things like the camera or phone calls don't work due to various drivers not being properly coded.

That doesn't excuse Motorola since these developers get their ROMs running in beta in less than a week and squash the bugs the week after. It should embarrass these companies that independent developers can get a fully functional OS running on a new device in such short time. The real problem, which Motorola is loath to discuss, is the custom skins with which OEMs encumber their devices. These skins cause more bugs and performance issues than any of the custom ROMs built by developers.
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The slaves at XDA don't have to worry about dealing with customers when things like the camera or phone calls don't work due to various drivers not being properly coded.

Thats cause they did not make the phone
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

That doesn't excuse Motorola since these developers get their ROMs running in beta in less than a week and squash the bugs the week after. It should embarrass these companies that independent developers can get a fully functional OS running on a new device in such short time. The real problem, which Motorola is loath to discuss, is the custom skins with which OEMs encumber their devices. These skins cause more bugs and performance issues than any of the custom ROMs built by developers.

Ditto!

I have iOS and Android, both are fine system, each with it's own strengths. The only reason I favor iOS more, it is simply less bloated, I even stop jailbreaking it.

That said, I think C.Wyatt does has a valid point. Android updated are generally so poorly roll out by Google and more so when it gets to OEM stage. You really don't get an OS update with Androids unless you purchase a new phone and that's for the birds.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

That doesn't excuse Motorola since these developers get their ROMs running in beta in less than a week and squash the bugs the week after. It should embarrass these companies that independent developers can get a fully functional OS running on a new device in such short time. The real problem, which Motorola is loath to discuss, is the custom skins with which OEMs encumber their devices. These skins cause more bugs and performance issues than any of the custom ROMs built by developers.

You've never had to deal with customers whose phones stop working, have you?

Rolling out Android ROMs that have not been thoroughly tested with both the OEM's and phone company's software and the equipment the networks run on is not a viable option for companies that have to support millions of customers, who are well within their rights to take legal action if things break.

The unpaid developer slaves at XDA can release any crap they feel like to a minority of people who are willing to take the risk if something goes wrong.

Anyway call me a cynic but I believe this action of Motorola's is a smokescreen to throw out a perception of some sort of independence from Google as a show for anti-trust objections to the takeover.
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post #11 of 47
Moto wagging it's tail to look like an independent player in this litigation is pathetic.
post #12 of 47
Ah!

The beauty of iOS.

Guaranteed, regular updates!
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post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

yea but teams like CM do bug testing BEFORE they release anything beta...they do release RCs but not betas or alphas even.

If they can do it in their free time a large billion dollar corporation can.

It's not a matter of 'can Motorola do it', because obviously they could, provided they throw enough money at it. The question is: 'can Motorola do it and still make a profit on their phone business'. Seeing that they haven't been profitable for about a decade of doing things they way they are doing it now, I'd say: no, Motorola cannot afford to spend enough effort, manpower and money to provide stable OS updates at regular intervals, in a timely fashion, for every phone they sell, and still be profitable. Which kind of proves the point that you should not buy a Motorola phone if you care about updates, because you might never get any, or you'll get them after the phone is already up for replacement. The same holds for many other Android manufacturers by the way, besides Nexus phones I wouldn't bet on any brand for OS updates except maybe flagship Samsung Galaxy phones.

Comparing a bunch of hackers who dick around with custom Android ROMS in their spare time, without getting paid, and without the QA and support burden that Motorola has, without having to negotiate with carriers and such, without having to port all the Motorola-specific crap bolted on top of stock Android, is pretty naive.
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

You've never had to deal with customers whose phones stop working, have you?

Rolling out Android ROMs that have not been thoroughly tested with both the OEM's and phone company's software and the equipment the networks run on is not a viable option for companies that have to support millions of customers, who are well within their rights to take legal action if things break.

The unpaid developer slaves at XDA can release any crap they feel like to a minority of people who are willing to take the risk if something goes wrong..

^ this
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...Motorola's custom software must then be added before the devices are re-certified by carriers, she said.

Herein lies the ultimate problem. Even Samsung claimed they couldn't provide updates cause they couldn't fit the TouchWiz UI in with ICS ROMs...or something like that. I can't recall exactly what the issue was, but if this is that big of a deal to these companies, then drop Android for something else...or fork it...or whatever. Otherwise give up on making it seem like you have to distinguish yourself amidst a sea of other Android OEMs. Windows doesn't have UI layers made by Dell or HP...they distinguish with designs that largely mimic MacBooks. Oh wait...that whole copying thing is not working out for you is it Samsung?

Wow.

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post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Anyway call me a cynic but I believe this action of Motorola's is a smokescreen to throw out a perception of some sort of independence from Google as a show for anti-trust objections to the takeover.

Of course it's independent. There's been no approval by either the US or European authorities for the sale to take place. Google put in contract terms that require any new actions after Google's offer must be run past them (according to the only source I saw mention it, FOSSPatents). That's only common sense of course, assuring that Moto doesn't take on any new commitments or obligations that would materially affect their value prior to an actual change in ownership. I would be shocked if similar requirements weren't included in Apple or anyone else's offers to purchase.

Recently ATT made a purchase offer for TMobile. They didn't own or control them until the deal was approved by the US. You know what happened there. It cost ATT a bundle. Google's on the hook for the same kind of payout to Moto if the deal doesn't get approval for any reason.
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post #17 of 47
Does anyone else here that Waaambulance?
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Christy Wyatt, soon to be former senior vice president and general manager of Motorola's Enterprise Business Unit...

Fixed.

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post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

It's not a matter of 'can Motorola do it', because obviously they could, provided they throw enough money at it. The question is: 'can Motorola do it and still make a profit on their phone business'. Seeing that they haven't been profitable for about a decade of doing things they way they are doing it now, I'd say: no, Motorola cannot afford to spend enough effort, manpower and money to provide stable OS updates at regular intervals, in a timely fashion, for every phone they sell, and still be profitable. Which kind of proves the point that you should not buy a Motorola phone if you care about updates, because you might never get any, or you'll get them after the phone is already up for replacement. The same holds for many other Android manufacturers by the way, besides Nexus phones I wouldn't bet on any brand for OS updates except maybe flagship Samsung Galaxy phones.

Comparing a bunch of hackers who dick around with custom Android ROMS in their spare time, without getting paid, and without the QA and support burden that Motorola has, without having to negotiate with carriers and such, without having to port all the Motorola-specific crap bolted on top of stock Android, is pretty naive.

Somewhere in there is faulty logic.

Assume, for a second, that since the beginning Motorola began supporting their phones quickly and often...perhaps in this non-existent reality their profits would've been better, no?

So yes, it was possible...also the cost of paying, say, 40 engineers or developers, or whoever would be in charge of this say, 80k a year is only 3.2 million...that 3.2 million could've saved them a LOT of money assuming better updates and software reliability = more/returning customers.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

. . . optimizing Android to specific hardware profiles is a difficult task that handset makers must deal with after Google releases the software into the wild.

"When Google does a release of the software ... they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped," she said. "The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it. Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It's a big machine to churn."


There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth, the root of Android's future downfall. This task of customizing and fine-tuning Android for multiple smartphone models will just get more and more expensive time and resource wise as smartphones become more and more complex.

Very early in the auto industry's history there used to be independent engine builders and independent coach builders. As the car became more complex, those outfits either merged or disappeared because they couldn't keep up with the integrateds.

Well actually, if the Android handset mfrs shrink to one or two survivors, then Android just might survive. But unless Moto is one of those survivors, Google will lose any semblance of control over Android. And it's looking more and more like if there will be a survivor, it will be Samsung not Motorola. (Unless Google puts the squeeze on Samsung, which would be fraught with so much legal risk.)
post #21 of 47
What BS. If the OEMs didn't put out a dozen phones every year (with several being only slight variations of an original) and if they didn't tack on ridiculous bloatware, they wouldn't really have a tough time updating the phones.

Google isn't entirely blameless. But they certainly don't deserve most of the blame.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The slaves at XDA don't have to worry about dealing with customers when things like the camera or phone calls don't work due to various drivers not being properly coded.

It doesn't work right to begin with so they won't know the difference lol
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post #23 of 47
Clearly she doesn't want to maintain her job once the sale goes thru
post #24 of 47
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Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Clearly she doesn't want to maintain her job once the sale goes thru

That was my first thought ... perhaps she has tickets to Cupertino already.
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post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"When Google does a release of the software ... they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped," she said. "The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it...."

But.... but... OPEN!!!!!!!!!!
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...] Samsung could stand the most to lose if Google begins to favor Motorola, as it has grown to become the world's second-largest smartphone largely by piggybacking off the Android platform. The South Korean handset maker has reportedly moved to strengthen its Bada smartphone platform and signed a patent licensing deal with Microsoft because it was unsure of the future of its relationship with Google.

Some time soon, Samsung will be able to dictate Android features and specs to Google.
And Google will gladly oblige, because Samsung is the leading Android handset maker.

When will that happen? It will happen some time after the Motorola Mobility acquisition has been finalized,
after the first Official Motoroogle Reference Phone has been released, and after sales of
the first Official Motoroogle Reference Phone have trailed off from insignificant to near-zero.

In other words, some time in 2013.

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post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Somewhere in there is faulty logic.

Assume, for a second, that since the beginning Motorola began supporting their phones quickly and often...perhaps in this non-existent reality their profits would've been better, no?

So yes, it was possible...also the cost of paying, say, 40 engineers or developers, or whoever would be in charge of this say, 80k a year is only 3.2 million...that 3.2 million could've saved them a LOT of money assuming better updates and software reliability = more/returning customers.

I'm not sure I'm following you there. Are you implying Moto would have been in such a better state today if they had done a better job at supporting their phones in the past, that they would have been profitable? Because I'm not buying that.

Motorola should simply have sold better phones targetted at a broader audience, instead of trying to focus exclusively on geeks that buy on spec sheets and feature checklists. Maybe then they would have sold enough units of fewer models to be able to properly support them, and have bought some mindshare to get people to stick with the brand.

Just look at this whole Droid branding they created, the person responsible for coming up with such an idiotic brand image and thinking it would appeal to a large enough audience should get his (or her... hahaha, not a chance) head checked.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

Just look at this whole Droid branding they created, the person responsible for coming up with such an idiotic brand image and thinking it would appeal to a large enough audience should get his (or her... hahaha, not a chance) head checked.

I don't agree with this paragraph. The original Droid was the first commercially successful Android-based smartphone. IMHO it was single-handedly responsible for the exceptionally fast acceptance of Android as an OS and branding of Android as a smartphone choice for millions of buyers. Over a million were sold in the first 74 days, and that was little more than two years ago! Before the Motorola Droid the marketshare for Android was miniscule, WM7-like, and was no concern at all for Apple.

Moto's problem to me and the same one that existed with the original Razr was that they didn't have an innovative followup phone. Samsung and HTC did, making Motorola an also-ran.
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post #29 of 47
We can summarize the article as:

Motorola says that it's Google's fault that there aren't upgrades for Android phones.

Google says that it's the handset manufacturer's fault.

Customers don't care whose fault it is because they're getting screwed.
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post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

I'm not sure I'm following you there. Are you implying Moto would have been in such a better state today if they had done a better job at supporting their phones in the past, that they would have been profitable? Because I'm not buying that.

Motorola should simply have sold better phones targetted at a broader audience, instead of trying to focus exclusively on geeks that buy on spec sheets and feature checklists. Maybe then they would have sold enough units of fewer models to be able to properly support them, and have bought some mindshare to get people to stick with the brand.

Just look at this whole Droid branding they created, the person responsible for coming up with such an idiotic brand image and thinking it would appeal to a large enough audience should get his (or her... hahaha, not a chance) head checked.

I agree. That focus on all the extras aimed at geeks is a hang over for all the anti apple products and followers dating way back. I suspect Moto and others saw it as the way to beat Apple when in fact it was a bad mistake as you say limiting most of the appeal to Apple hating geeks. I will never forget all the reasons given why iPad would fail and how the rush was on to make a tablet with all those things iPad had missing. That went well ... NOT
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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

You've never had to deal with customers whose phones stop working, have you?

Rolling out Android ROMs that have not been thoroughly tested with both the OEM's and phone company's software and the equipment the networks run on is not a viable option for companies that have to support millions of customers, who are well within their rights to take legal action if things break.

The unpaid developer slaves at XDA can release any crap they feel like to a minority of people who are willing to take the risk if something goes wrong.

Anyway call me a cynic but I believe this action of Motorola's is a smokescreen to throw out a perception of some sort of independence from Google as a show for anti-trust objections to the takeover.

Here's the thing: nobody's phones stop working because of the ROMs. People certainly do screw up sometimes during the flashing process when they don't read instructions, but it's not the fault of the developers, and the phones are always recoverable after such a mistake. Furthermore, the developers don't put out a product and then just leave it for dead. If you check out the website, the "slaves" (why exactly do you call them that?) provide customer support daily because developing these ROMs is something that they enjoy doing and want users to enjoy equally.

As far as large companies having to support millions, I can't argue there. The problem is that if these companies were half as capable as the independent developers, they would never have to deal with complaints of dysfunctional software. I think every single Android OEM would be ecstatic to only have to take warranty claims based on factory defects in hardware.

Lastly, I have a feeling that it will be painfully obvious that Motorola is not truly independent after we see their first phone developed during the Google era. My prediction (insert salt grain) is that Google can get away with saying that Motorola will be run independently because Motorola is a hardware company, and they will have the freedom to crank out whatever hardware they desire. Google will be doing the software single-handedly, though.
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I don't agree with this paragraph. The original Droid was the first commercially successful Android-based smartphone. IMHO it was single-handedly responsible for the exceptionally fast acceptance of Android as an OS and branding of Android as a smartphone choice for millions of buyers. Over a million were sold in the first 74 days, and that was little more than two years ago! Before the Motorola Droid the marketshare for Android was miniscule, WM7-like, and was no concern at all for Apple.

I'm not saying there isn't a market for phones like the first Moto Droids, and at that time I think it actually filled a gap in the market. The problem with the Droid phones is that the people it appealed to all bought them right away, which explains why they initially sold a lot of units in no time. There wasn't a whole lot of credible competition in Android land back then anyway. After the target market for the Droid was saturated, every Android geek already had one, plus a 2 year contract, and everyone else got an iPhone, an HTC, a Samsung, or some other phone for marketed at 'normal' people. All the Droid phones after that were just rehashed versions of the same thing but with souped up specs to lure more geeks, some of which were just terrible because the tradeoffs Moto had to make to get the latest hardware in their phone crippled many of them. As it turns out, most people don't care about spec sheets, robots, glowing red eyes and bionic aliens or whatever Moto used to market these things.
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

I'm not saying there isn't a market for phones like the first Moto Droids, and at that time I think it actually filled a gap in the market. The problem with the Droid phones is that the people it appealed to all bought them right away, which explains why the first sold a lot of units in no time, but after the target market was saturated, every Android geek already had a Droid and a 2 year contract, and everyone else got an iPhone, an HTC, a Samsung, or some other phone for marketed at 'normal' people. All the Droid phones after were just rehashed versions of the same thing but with souped up specs to lure more geeks, some of which were just terrible because the tradeoffs Moto had to make to get the latest hardware in their phone crippled many of them. As it turns out, most people don't care about spec sheets, robots, glowing red eyes and bionic aliens or whatever Moto used to market these things.

I think we're both of the same opinion now. Moto didn't have a good follow-up plan to take advantage of the Droid success. A whole lot of Android phones sold after that, over 200 million. Enough to take half the total world-wide market. but Motorola didn't put themselves in a position to take advantage of it. They had a chance to be what Samsung is today in smartphones but didn't know how to do it (or didn't have the balls).
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post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

It's not a matter of 'can Motorola do it', because obviously they could, provided they throw enough money at it. The question is: 'can Motorola do it and still make a profit on their phone business'. Seeing that they haven't been profitable for about a decade of doing things they way they are doing it now, I'd say: no, Motorola cannot afford to spend enough effort, manpower and money to provide stable OS updates at regular intervals, in a timely fashion, for every phone they sell, and still be profitable. Which kind of proves the point that you should not buy a Motorola phone if you care about updates, because you might never get any, or you'll get them after the phone is already up for replacement. The same holds for many other Android manufacturers by the way, besides Nexus phones I wouldn't bet on any brand for OS updates except maybe flagship Samsung Galaxy phones.

Comparing a bunch of hackers who dick around with custom Android ROMS in their spare time, without getting paid, and without the QA and support burden that Motorola has, without having to negotiate with carriers and such, without having to port all the Motorola-specific crap bolted on top of stock Android, is pretty naive
.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carmelapple View Post

Herein lies the ultimate problem. Even Samsung claimed they couldn't provide updates cause they couldn't fit the TouchWiz UI in with ICS ROMs...or something like that. I can't recall exactly what the issue was, but if this is that big of a deal to these companies, then drop Android for something else...or fork it...or whatever. Otherwise give up on making it seem like you have to distinguish yourself amidst a sea of other Android OEMs. Windows doesn't have UI layers made by Dell or HP...they distinguish with designs that largely mimic MacBooks. Oh wait...that whole copying thing is not working out for you is it Samsung?

Wow. :rolleyes
:

Samsung is running version 2.2 of Android on their Galaxy phones, and likely will stay there.
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post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Samsung is running version 2.2 of Android on their Galaxy phones, and likely will stay there.

You mean the original Galaxy and it's telecom variants. The Galaxy II and it's cousins already have a Samsung announced update schedule to ICS by the end of next month.
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post #36 of 47
Me doth think they protest too much.
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Moto wagging it's tail to look like an independent player in this litigation is pathetic.

Yeah, now that you mention it -- I think that sums this entire thing up.

Moto is trying to look like they WON'T get preferential treatment by complaining of things that are probably annoying other phone developers. The discussion is focused on "why blame the OS developer for your custom mods?" misses the point.

The ENTIRE reason for the tempest in the teapot is not getting the newest and greatest to Motorolla's customers, but by making a public stink about something. "Ew, Bobby is so gross!" when we all know that little Susie did let him get to 2nd base behind the school, she just has to play up the anti-Bobby rhetoric so that the gossip machine suggesting she's a tramp will die down.

>> I didn't know until this story that Google had finally bought Motorolla -- but in that context, this story seems kind of basic PR manipulation. It's kind of weird the companies on the scrap heaps right now, and we've got Apple with more market cap than Microsoft and Google combined! Sheehs, 10 years ago all the gurus were suggesting that Apple do the stockholders a favor and sell off to Sun. I remember when my SUN stock went to pennies on the dollar.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Ah!

The beauty of iOS.

Guaranteed, regular updates!

No kidding. I really don't understand why some people are so enamored with that android mess.
post #39 of 47
Isn't this Motorola blaming themselfs? As they will shortly be Googlorola?
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post

Isn't this Motorola blaming themselfs? As they will shortly be Googlorola?

In a bit of a surprise, at least to me, the reports are that the Moto/Google deal will be approved by both the EU and US with no strings attached as early as next week.

Here's something I've never noticed before. The purchase also has to be approved by China, Taiwan and Isreal. Perhaps there's subsidiary companies in those countries.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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