Originally Posted by Red Oak
2014 is the year Google and Samsung go to war with each other. Their key interests and goals are in complete conflict
For Google, their relationship with their main distribution arm is going to breakdown. Likely via Samsung forking Android or a substantial re-balancing of the key business terms (e.g. rev share on search advertising). It is a matter of when. Poof - 50% of Google's mobile business is at risk
For Samsung, Google is aggressively entering the hardware space - Moto X, Nexus 7. In particular, the Nexus 7 ensures that all OEMs including Samsung have zero chance of ever making any material profits in the tablet space. Google's goal is $0 hardware. It is in complete conflict with its OEM partners
I'm going to enjoy this shi* show over the next 18 months. The net net is it will benefit Apple
Extending this out to the full personal device landscape...
Apple - Sell great hardware for $$ with nearly free great software, as a platform for an immersive ecosystem... eventually invert the model and make the ecosystem the primary profit source.
Samsung - Sell Hardware for $$, with whatever SW seems to sell it best, add ecosystem(s) because people want it, but focus on building HW and selling it at maximum margin
Amazon - Sell hardware/SW at a loss, but make device the greatest book buying/reading unit, integrated into to the largest shopping center in the world, where you own the cash registers and fulfillment systems of every shop inside.
Google/Moto - Sell hardware at negative margins, free OS, to drive eyeballs to adsense sites, and google services (first couple years are free, then either killed or monetized).
Nokia/MS - Oh, how the mighty have fallen... how to keep MS Office and Xbox relevant in a post email/document/general-spreadsheet/GameSW world.
Blackberry - The not so mighty have fallen faster... but have a comets tail of touch typist loyalists
Sony/Nintendo - See MS/Blackberry...
Asus/HP/DELL/Lenovo - 'Peak PC' has passed. Servers are commodities. Cloud Data Centers will be like Utilities, small/medium/large businesses won't buy their own... they'll just 'buy it off the grid'
That is your players list. Anyone else will be selling pods/phones/pads that will effectively be fodder for carrier/carrier-resellers/bigbox stock racks.
Odds are Blackberry and Nokia/MS will eventually wither and die... and/or Google will see something new to do, and sell off Moto. I don't see more than 4 players in the 'device ecosystem' environment, and Apple and Amazon have solid ecosystems, and Samsung is the megolith in device manufacturing
The key thing here is that Software has evolved to 'zero' value to the consumer. That kills Blackberry/MS-Nok, and in effect, Google/Android. People (the 6.1Billion who don't know or care about 'Visual Basic' 'JIT', or 'Dalvik vs ObjC') buy phones and ipads and tablets and computers... to DO stuff. They don't buy it to 'run Word' or 'Jelly Bean"
In the end... it will be about ecosystems and integration into lives/businesses/family (on the same device). We want a device that is Personal Me, Daddy/Mommy Me, Corporate Me, my Private business me, Game Player Me, Carlos Danger Me, Mother's Son/Daughter Me, and 'oh, child/friend/mother wants to borrow my device me.'
The wildcard (in many ways) is Amazon. They are all about free cash flow (Sell Stuff Faster, pay for it slower), which while not 'profit,' it is 'money to invest in making money' They are 'When people scream GOLD Rush... Get into the Shovel Selling Business... buy more shovels now, pay for them later, after they are sold, and figure out a way to sell them with zero ('or negative') overhead!"