Google and Samsung escalate hostilities over watches, Tizen and Android's openness

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
Google is growing increasingly worried that Samsung, its largest licensee, is working to undermine its own strategy for Android, while Samsung and the rest of the industry is concerned that Google has become a "bully," according to a new report by The Information.



Reports of contention between Google and Samsung are not new, but increasing hostility between the two companies were clearly evident at the recent Allen & Co. meeting of tech and media industry luminaries recently held in Sun Valley, according to a report by The Information written by Jessica Lessin.

In particular, the report described a "tense private meeting" at the event between Google's chief executive Larry Page and Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee. The meeting involved Samsung's smartwatch strategy, which is currently focused primarily on Tizen and a heavily customized Android fork, rather than Google's official Android Wear.

Google is upset that Android is being used as an open platform

"Right before Samsung launched its first Gear watch last fall," Lessin wrote, "Google objected to how it planned to brand the device, since it was running a very heavily modified version of Android, according to people familiar with the matter. Google had wanted Samsung to wait to release the Gear until its new version of Android for wearables, Android Wear, was ready. But Samsung pushed ahead."

Back in 2010, Google similarly tried to stop Samsung from using Android 2.x to build a tablet clone of Apple's iPad, insisting that its Android licensees wait until it could release Android 3.0 Honeycomb with features that promoted Google's own vision for tablets.

Samsung pushed ahead with its Galaxy Tab anyway, distracting attention away from Google's Honeycomb project while also creating a bad experience for early Android tablet adopters. Google had also warned Samsung that its tablet products were too obviously similar to Apple's iPad.



After Android Honeycomb tablets (led by Motorola) dramatically flopped in 2011, Google shifted to the cheaper, smaller strategy of Samsung's original Tab. Google failed to find success in a problematic partnership with Asus, then jumped to partner with Samsung while still finding tablet success elusive.

Samsung has also struggled to sell tablets on its own, although it has boosted its phone sales by appealing to customers with handsets paired with a nearly-tablet sized screen. With Apple widely believed to be designing larger iPhone models, Samsung has scrambled to identify the "next big thing" to maintain its sales volumes, most recently arriving at smartwatches.

Samsung's Tizen threatens to cut Android in half

Samsung initially used a heavily-modified Android to power its first Galaxy Gear watch. However, fights between the two companies concerning Samsung's copying of the Google Play store and muscling into other services (including advertising) that Google expected to keep for itself have since contributed to Samsung's efforts to develop new watch models based on its own Tizen.

Samsung's Tizen is a version of Linux that abandons Google's tightly controlled Android platform to rid the company of Google's restrictions while allowing Samsung to differentiate its products from the even cheaper copies being produced in China.

Documents revealed during the Apple-Samsung trial showed that by late 2011, Samsung was already plotting to "influence a 3rd mobile OS platform viability and scale by driving volume aggressively," noting that "what matters most in adoption" was "market penetration."

At the time, Samsung observed "this won't be easy," noting that "two thirds of developers say there is [little] chance OSes or hardware would become attractive enough to overtake Android as the No. 2 mobile dev platform, let alone the untouchable Apple iOS."

Samsung vs Android


In late 2009, Samsung initially dabbled with its own Bada Linux distribution, then partnered with Intel to resurrect the mobile Linux work Intel and Nokia had collaborated on earlier, resulting in Tizen, which combined elements of all three companies' work.

Were Samsung able to migrate its Galaxy customers from Android to Tizen, Google's market share numbers of devices using Android code would collapse in half. Fortunately for Google, Samsung hasn't been very successful with Tizen so far.

Google demands Samsung fall in line

At the beginning of this year, Google's head of Android Sundar Pichai demanded Samsung drop its new "Magazine UX" tablet interface, with The Information later reporting that Pichai was "prepared to forbid" Samsung from using Google's ostensibly open Android operating system unless Samsung surrendered more control to Google.

Google expected to force adoption of its own upcoming "Material Design" appearance across all Android licensees, just like it had attempted to similarly push Android tablet licensees to adopt Android 3.0 Honeycomb's "Holo" appearance. Both "new" interfaces were developed by Matias Duarte, the designer Google poached from Palm's webOS group. Ironically, Google's original premise for Android was that it would allow companies to "openly" innovate and experiment with different designs

Ironically, Google's original premise for Android was that it would allow companies to "openly" innovate and experiment with different designs while also allowing hackers and hobbyists to fully access all parts of the operating system, ideas that Google contrasted against Apple's plans for uniform, secure iPhones limited to running approved, encryption-signed apps.

However, Google's current plan for Android imposes increasingly strict rules over Android licensees and introduces locked down security features similar to iOS, in an effort to dump hobbyists and pick up enterprise customers and other higher end customers who are willing to pay a premium for secure devices.

With Tizen currently unable to power a smartphone that buyers want, Samsung bowed to Google's demands earlier this year, and even agreed to "contribute" to Google the Knox security software it had developed to differentiate its own phones.

Knox

Google's demands get even more strident for Android Wear

Having crushed Samsung's aspirations for original phone and tablet software, Google is now demanding that Samsung stop developing its own Tizen-powered watches and instead fall in line to support Android Wear, which is only represented on one of the four smartwatch models Samsung currently sells. "Media, technology and advertising executives privately aired their concerns about Google's growing power in advertising and mobile phones throughout the event" - The Information

"Mr. Page's irritation over Samsung's wearables strategy leaves Samsung in a tough spot," Lessin wrote. "Company executives say they are extraordinarily reluctant to aggravate Google, yet they remain concerned about their dependence on Android and ability to differentiate on top of it."

Samsung isn't alone in its concerns. "Media, technology and advertising executives privately aired their concerns about Google's growing power in advertising and mobile phones throughout the event," Lessin stated.

After Page outlined his vision for the future of Google, Lessin added that "privately, executives were quick to call the company a 'bully' and to plot ways to counter Google's growing power."

Google's bullying hostility to outside partners has not worked in the company's favor. After seeking to appropriate TV networks' content and add its own advertising in Google TV, broadcasters blocked their content from the device, helping to condemn the flawed product to failure.

Banks, carriers and other firms similarly balked at supporting the company's self-serving plans for NFC and Google Wallet, helping to turn the ambitious project into a total fiasco.
«1345678

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 141
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Google is being a bully to Samsung? Try enforcer. Bullies pick on innocents. Samsung is guilty of being the worst company on earth. Have at 'em Google
  • Reply 2 of 141
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Yay open!
    Oh. Wait. Never mind.
  • Reply 3 of 141
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    andysol wrote: »
    Google is being a bully to Samsung? Try enforcer. Bullies pick on innocents. Samsung is guilty of being the worst company on earth. Have at 'em Google

    1) Does that make it right?

    2) Google losing Samsung is a major hit against their Android adoption. If they can't get Samsung to offer Android in wearables then Android may never have a chance to gain a dominate marketshare. For that reason I want Samsung to successfully offer Tizen in all their devices that might otherwise run Android.
  • Reply 4 of 141
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Fortunately for Google, Samsung hasn't been very successful with Tizen so far.

     

    Have briefly played with a Tizen-based Samsung phone prototype.  And it was absolutely terrible.

    But lots of 1.0 releases are terrible.  And Tizen is a way for Samsung to take control of its own destiny.

     

    Because who knows what the f-ck Google will try to do to Samsung by clamping down on skins and mods?

    Tizen is a last resort if and when Google really does screw Samsung badly.  (Badly again, judging by Samsung Gear.)

    Time to make some popcorn!

     

  • Reply 5 of 141
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    Have briefly played with a Tizen-based Samsung phone prototype.  And it was absolutely terrible.
    But lots of 1.0 releases are terrible.  And Tizen is a way for Samsung to take control of its own destiny.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Because who knows what the f-ck Google will try to do to Samsung by clamping down on skins and mods?</span>

    Tizen is a last resort if and when Google really does screw Samsung badly.  (Badly again, judging by Samsung Gear.)
    Time to make some popcorn!

    For a wearable it might be a better fit than Android. The iPod Nano with a touchscreen still doesn't use iOS so I even wonder if Apple would use iOS in the rumoured iWatch.
  • Reply 6 of 141
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    Anyone thinking that Samsung is not going to try and take advantage of any business partnership or informal arrangement is simply foolish. IMO. Doesn't matter if it's Apple or Google. That's just what Samsung does, it's in their DNA. Google isn't stupid and knows Android without Samsung is the end result. In the meantime as much as possible they have to keep Sammy from hurting everyone else. as they walk out the door.
  • Reply 7 of 141
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    For a wearable it might be a better fit than Android. The iPod Nano with a touchscreen still doesn't use iOS so I even wonder if Apple would use iOS in the rumoured iWatch.

    The OS for Android wear and the one for smart[phones/tablets is somewhat different.
  • Reply 8 of 141
    leesmithleesmith Posts: 119member
    Samsung is the one being the bully. Samsung is attempting to use it's leverage as the dominant Android device manufacturer to do whatever it wants.
  • Reply 9 of 141
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,007member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    ...


    2) Google losing Samsung is a major hit against their Android adoption. If they can't get Samsung to offer Android in wearables then Android may never have a chance to gain a dominate marketshare. For that reason I want Samsung to successfully offer Tizen in all their devices that might otherwise run Android.

    Tell me if your last comment means splitting the Android faction in half would mean all those people who lump Android together would have to report iOS, Android, Tizen, and the mysterious other (not worrying about Microsoft). If this happens and Samsung drops Android altogether, what would the pie chart look like? 

  • Reply 10 of 141
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    The OS for Android wear and the one for smart[phones/tablets is quite different.

    Sure, but does it still use Java?

    leesmith wrote: »
    Samsung is the one being the bully. Samsung is attempting to use it's leverage as the dominant Android device manufacturer to do whatever it wants.

    So if Samsung wants to leverage Tizen it's wrong? Does that make Apple wanting to leverage their OS wrong, too? I at least support a company wanting to be more independent and frankly I'm happy to see Google and Samsung duke it out.
  • Reply 11 of 141
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member

    Google's recipe for crap

  • Reply 12 of 141
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by leesmith View Post



    Samsung is the one being the bully. Samsung is attempting to use it's leverage as the dominant Android device manufacturer to do whatever it wants.

     

    Both companies are scumbags, and each deserves to fail based on their individual shortcomings... But in this particular case, why is it wrong for Samsung to want to differentiate its products by leveraging the much vaunted "openness" of Google's Android OS? Wasn't that google's battle cry against Apple's "closed" ecosystem?

  • Reply 13 of 141
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) Does that make it right?

    2) Google losing Samsung is a major hit against their Android adoption. If they can't get Samsung to offer Android in wearables then Android may never have a chance to gain a dominate marketshare. For that reason I want Samsung to successfully offer Tizen in all their devices that might otherwise run Android.

    Totally with you there.

    This will be difficult one for Gatorguy ... on which side will he write a calm, well supported post, explaining why they are in the right? True colors may have to be shown ... :D

    Oh, I missed it, he already has ... Google through and through. Even inferring Scamsung would hurt Google and Apple if they could ... so all the support over the years of anything Samsung against Apple was just what ...? Humor?
  • Reply 14 of 141
    It's not as though wearables are a must have now (or ever). They are in the fetal development phase at best. Why would Samsung knuckle under to google if Tizen had any viability? It is likely Samsung does not have the software and design talent, and will not hire more experienced foreigners to get the job done.

    They are very late to the software engineering game, and likely this is holding them back. It's also possible it will cause them to fail.
  • Reply 15 of 141
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    Totally with you there.

    This will be difficult one for Gatorguy ... on which side will he write a calm, well supported post supporting? True colors:D may be shown ... :D

    You must have skipped right over post 7 preceding yours.

    I've never trusted Samsung, nor thought Apple fans were wrong to distrust them either.
  • Reply 16 of 141
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Whatever happened to Google ditching Android?

    appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/29/google-appears-ready-to-ditch-android-over-its-intellectual-property-issues
  • Reply 17 of 141
    future manfuture man Posts: 100member
    Creating a Frankenstein Monster:

    Well Mr. Page should not have liberally given away the OS without expecting there to be conflict and fragmentation down the road and Samsung should have realized tat there no such thing as a 'free lunch' and one day they would have to 'pay the piper'. Android has become a Frankenstein monster to which its creator is finding it increasingly difficult to manage. Microsoft was able to exert more control over its MS OS due to a symbiotic, financial relationship that existed between software and hardware vendors. Now if either Google or Samsung want to 'go their separate ways' in regards to future proprietary versions of the Android OS, there will be technological, legal, financial and perceptions issues facing each firm. Everyone loved Android because it appeared 'free', now it seems that nothing is for free except the energy we get from the sun each day.
  • Reply 18 of 141
    The problem for Samsung is that Android is user orientated.

    That orientation is creating far too much innovation and competition so staying top dog is near impossible.
    Contrast that to the stable history of Windows where change was non near existent resulting in a stable hierarchy.
  • Reply 19 of 141
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    I would love nothing better than for Samsung to drop Android. If Samsung thinks they have some street 'cred' on their own without Android they will be surprised to learn that people who buy Galaxy are primarily Android fans not Samsung fans. If Samsung drops Android, Google will have to step up to the plate as the primary manufacturer of Android devices with Nexus or it will die. That will certainly level the playing field since Google will be forced to adopt the hardware, OS, and software role like Apple has been doing for years. Then we will see how they stack up against one another in market share without the 'free' OS being the determining factor in the unbalanced comparisons between Samsung and Apple.

  • Reply 20 of 141
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    Who didn't see this coming knowing full well Google told them guys that yes they can use Android but the way Google wants it used. That's called control.
    What's that relationship called on the streets... PIMPS AND HOES.
    Here's is the conflict, Sammy has to get sh** out fast. Penetrate the market with anything to get more money and Android is the only off the shelf and free mobile os available. But with Google tripping, rightfully so, Sammy gotta come up with their own swag. Each have stock holders to answer to.
    But in the mean time Larry is bitch slapping Sammy across the face with a single white glove.
    He can't do that bullish** to Tim Cook.
Sign In or Register to comment.