"It’s Google’s autistic approach to relationships," one senior phone exec told me this week. "They don’t know what hurt they’re doing, and they don’t care." It’s nothing personal, guys. Today, some of the biggest tech companies in the world, who thought they were Google’s closest partners, will begin to understand how, say, …
That's short term. That's the Google way of doing handset business.
In the long run it would probably have been a disaster for Nokia, the company that sells more smart phones than its two nearest competitors combined. For a start they would have lost face right now (just like Motorola and Samsung did). And apart from that they have come a long way with Maemo. Giving up that position would only strengthen Google, a 'partner' that has now proven to be very unreliable.
It won't be forgotten, I am sure.
As Mr. Mackey would say:
"Google are bad, mmm-kay'.
The sooner we all deal with this non-revelation and move on, the better.
The likes of Google, M$, Apple et al are the same as children. They'll do what they want until they can't get away with it any more.
Always have, always will I'm sorry to say.
...history only repeats itself in certain ways. We are also continually moving into the unknown that all of the serious powers are attempting to take the dominant position in. The second part of that statement is an example of the sense in which history repeats itself; that is where it applies to ethics. Seriously examine history, through all ages - though you only really need to look at recent history (say, from the middle ages to the twentieth century) - and you will see that the children running the likes of Google, M$ et al are all like Cartman.
Not a comparison, but the example to end all examples of what is wrong with that laissez faire approach: the Nazis committed mass murder until they couldn't get away with it any more. Being stopped didn't make what they did get away with trivial. That wasn't even 100 years ago; there are still plenty still living who were alive then. And there is plenty of evil still being done in the world _now_ including by the USA and the UK.
The way most people approach this kind of stuff, almost militantly doing nothing about it, is like unconsciously yearning for oblivion; like saying just below the threshhold of their awareness "who cares _what_ they do? I just want to sleep forever!" Like ol' Joey Pants in The Matrix.
I don't think the network operators are going to be disappearing anytime soon or, indeed. will be powerless little inconveniences as Google would like. It's their network, they're are likely to start merging when margins get tight and, rich though Google are, they might find you still need access to that mobile spectrum before you get to Google's ponced up playpen.
A bit over-emotional perhaps?
Very few of the mobile operators' customers, with nearly two decades' experience of their control-freakery and efforts to prevent us exercising, will feel sympathy for them on this relatively rare occasion when the tables are turned. "Walled Gardens", phones locked to specific operators, price plans designed to confuse the consumer, reaming us with roaming charges....
On the other hand, the opening premise of the article that Google is not the saintly saviour of the downtrodden consumer out of the goodness of its heart is a valid observation. They are a business like any other, to be admired - as is, say, Virgin - for their propensity to shake up other firms' business model to the ultimate advantage of the consumer. Creative Destruction is a cornerstone of effective markets and we woudl all be poorer without it. However, the evidence becomes more compelling that Google are duplicitious and scary to do business with. They have managed to create the illusion that everything is totally free. The idea that anything is "free" with no price ever having to be paid anywhere ever is a chimera that can fool typical consumers. So, anybody who competes with Google has an obligation to prove this is an illusion. That they fail to justify their own relative value is their failing, not Google's. The mobile operators, who for years have run the same "it's free" stunt with their handsets, really ought to know better.
My big problem with this article was that is showed a level of emotion that I found unusual from you, and not enjoyable. I enjoy el Reg's willingness to state its strongly help opionions in its articles, they are always clearly signposted as opinions and not dressed up as fact. This article has a sulphurous odour of bias about it. Shame on you, el Reg, well below your usual standards.
Re: A bit over-emotional perhaps?
"My big problem with this article was that is showed a level of emotion that I found unusual from you, and not enjoyable. I enjoy el Reg's willingness to state its strongly help opionions in its articles, they are always clearly signposted as opinions and not dressed up as fact. This article has a sulphurous odour of bias about it."
Don't you love the sulphorous odour of bias in the morning?
Just one problem with your considered response - the emotions are not mine, but those of people who thought Google was their friend two weeks ago.
That's significant enough to report.
for once, I disagree Mr O!
These are all big corps, moto, s.e, and the networks have spent years shafting anybody smaller than them - and now, google are treading slightly on their toes. The fact is that google like all big businesses are there to make money, by any means. Do no evil isn't a legally binding contract between them and the world - if you write the article on the assumption that these other companies are somehow friends with google and got in to bed with them because they "do no evil" then those companies should go bust, as they made very naive choices at the cost of profits...
The way I see it, any manufacturer that is bringing out android phones will benefit from a central app store without having to fully maintain a big os - they also get to take advantage of shorter dev times for building new phones - if they were really worried about google competing with them then they could have written their own os, they could have chosen to use symbian, they have a number of options - this is the option they chose, and I doubt these guys didn't expect this.
Bringing out a google branded phone which has slightly higher specs, a decent price, and that runs vanilla android isn't shafting the market, it's enriching it. These manufacturers like S.E, HTC and Motorola all have been extending android to gain an advantage over each other and seperate their phones, networks are locking out the appstores in some cases and trying to make their own up - doing this they've also been fragmenting android and confusing punters - so if you think it's a one way street of google shafting manufacturers and networks, this really isn't the case.
Just my point of view...
disclaimer: have a very noisy baby in the background, so spelling, train of thought, and ability to form sentences may have been impared, apologies if this was all just a brain fart post! :)
Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone
I suggest you do a quick news search on the number of stories containing the phrase ‘Google superphone’
Did Google ever call it that or was it journalists over-egging or doing a straw man act so they could then cry conspiracy and outrage at Google taking over the mobile hardware world? I notice you omit HTC in the list of Google's partners yet conveniently forget to mention that it is they, traditionally Google's closest Android partner who actually manufacture this phone and not Google themselves. Maybe you could credit people with enough intelligence that they're willing to buy a phone based on its technical merits as much as the logo attached to it.
And in what way exactly are they shafting networks? Were any of the press and blogosphere predictions that the Nexus One would be targetted to run only with Wifi and VoIP instead of a GSM network even remotely true? No. The phone's initial release is again with one of its traditional partners - T-Mobile. Sure it's sold exlusively from Google's own web site and they are selling it unlocked for use with any GSM SIM which is relatively unusual for the US but they are also selling it operator-subsidised with a network contract from a major network under terms that are pretty much business-as-usual including a 2-year contract lock-in. They're also rumoured to be working on similar agreements with Verizon and Vodafone. Hell, did you even try to look for any actual facts before you started on this rhetoric?
Mr Orlowski, it's not really joining the dots when you're drawing all the dots yourself.
Prehaps it's not Google we should be worrying about but HTC instead. Nexus One is made by HTC so will be using standard components as they do in most of their phones, so at some point you will see a bedroom hacker annouce that WinMo can be installed on this phone just as some poeple have already got Android installed on some HTC WinMo phones.
All you need now for complete dominance is for HTC to build an iPhone and you've got the potential for 3 different OS's to be installed on a phone.
On a slightly seperate note, I too have no sympathy for the networks, but the overall jist of this article for me was that Google are increasingly becoming more of a distrustful company and unfortunately they have most of the keys already to our data kingdoms.
Re: Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone
“I suggest you do a quick news search on the number of stories containing the phrase ‘Google superphone”
Google News at 16:00 GMT:
“View all 4,240 news articles “
That’ll be a pint of Foaming Fanbois, please.
“Hell, did you even try to look for any actual facts before you started on this rhetoric?”
Not my rhetoric, but a fair reflection of various parts of the industry. Interesting to see which nerves this touched – in your case, a few million.
Re: Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone
Thanks for helping to make my point with your glib assumption that I was implying nobody used the term "Superphone". Maybe it came out of a Google press conference or presentation originally but my point is that it's the thousands of eager journos who have blown in up out of all proportion into an unofficial sobriquet for the handset while Google don't appear to use it anywhere on the phone's web site.
And fanboi? I use a lot of Google services and even pay for some but I'm under no illusion that they're the second coming. I've been screwed over by their lack of customer support for Android and shouted more than enough about it (a simple search of my own Register comments will show that). If you want to decry every one of your ciritics as zealots instead of actually defending your words with evidence that doesn't consist of weasel words and claims of sufficient empathy to know the moods of corporations then you'll soon end up looking like one of the cliched apocalyptic harbingers yelling on a street corner with a badly-scrawled sandwich board.
You are right about one thing though, you did touch a few nerves. I have nothing against people criticising Google or any other entity with more power than it deserves but I do object to those who undermine valid criticism by publishing poorly-founded attacks based on whatever bile-coated chip is resting on their shoulder.
So the network operators can't make money, the handset makers can't make money, the copy rights holders can't make money etc. because Google "screwed" them?
Give me a break. How about the consumer? This is called competition; this is called disruptive technologies; this is called progress. The above mentioned "parties" would like to remain fat and lazy and keep ripping off the consumer. Google will make it better for the consumers. That is how the market is supposed to work.
If Google starts hurting the consumer, we know how to deal with that. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_down_32.png
how about some real hurt?
I would like to see the trend of ridiculously expensive unlocked phones translate into discounted voice/data plans from at least one brave provider. Seriously if these price gouging a_holes "subsidize" phones by requiring a 2 or 3 year commitment, there has to be a good bit of profit to be made by offering a plan alone for a discount.
Unfortunately, if they ever offer a plan without a handset at a discounted price, they can no longer claim that the bundled handset is "free".
That way they fail to sell -- sorry, "give away" -- the latest new device. Not only does that mean lost handset sales -- I mean "giveaways", sorry -- but as the latest phones encourage you to use more data it's a lost opportunity to sell bigger data plans....
They sell you a bigger data plan then whine that you are using too much data. Tell you that you can't tether your phone, but will sell you a USB stick (with a second data plan) and if you want to use VPN... well that will cost you extra too.
They "give" you a nice new phone, they even customize it for the "best user experience" (cripple the USB port, remove the GPS maps...) and a year later your still stuck with the buggy 1.0 software because they are giving away a different phone now and can't be assed to customize the new version of the software.
.. to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
and I'll call you back!
Don't you mean...
One Ringtone to rule them all
titular title thingy
I make a conscious effort to not call back one-rings, they're fecking annoying!
Have to say I think it's a good move. It's a nice device and the work done will result in better Android phones.
As someone else said "cry me a river for the phone companies". Agree totally.
The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg. Like any other big corporation they do good things and bad things and should always be treated warily. I still think some more balance and perspective would be nice. Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!
"The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg....Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!"
Quite amazing. And creepy.
Collecting Quotes of the Year for 2010 has started early.
"The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg....Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!"
Quite amazing. And creepy.
Always a good sign that you're losing the argument... start referring to your opponent as "creepy".
So would you categorically deny that you've never benefitted from any of Google's services whatsoever?
Re: Re: Google
A good sign that someone is losing the argument is when they try and change the subject - or question someone's right to put forward a particular point of view. You've done both here.
Here's a good example of what I mean by creepy:
"So would you categorically deny that you've never benefitted from any of Google's services whatsoever?"
The logic is that our corporate overlards, whoever they may be, cannot be questioned if anyone uses their products or services. Try applying this a journalist writing about a drugs company. How's it sound then, Richard?
(By the way, you need to learn what 'categorically' means and when to use it, and that benefiting has one tee.)
Actually Google knows what they do
"It’s Google’s autistic approach to relationships," one senior phone exec told me this week. "They don’t know what hurt they’re doing, and they don’t care."
Actually they know and they do.
It takes a Russian to understand a Russian even if one who has been a bit muddled by growing up in the USA like Mr Brin.
The last words of one of the oldest russian proverbs about who is who in the business and trade food chain say literally: "A posrednik gavno". Translated: "And the Middleman is SH*T."
As far as Google is concerned - SEO, Telco, Mobile, stock brockers, various financial people are all middlemen. Google systematically treats them appropriately (as sh*t). And cares _ONLY_ about the end-user.
Applause. It is a classic example of using a contrarian approach to success. If a market is dominated by something there is always a chance that the mee-too sheeple tendency has exceeded the actual market force. It is also a long term success approach. Gavno comes and goes, end-users stay. If you piss them off they will run. It may take decades, but sooner or later they will.
Fixed it for you
Google only cares about revenue. They don't really care about the end-user. They realise that having a better end-user experience than the other guy will get them more users and therefore more revenue. To imply from that they care about them is going a bit far.
As an example. Google kept Googlemail in beta for such a long time purely to allow them to be free of any sort of responsibility. "Meh, its a beta service, if you treated it any differently then more fool you".
Why did Google enter the phone business in the first place? It wasn't out of the goodness of their hearts. It was because they could see people accessing the internet free from their advertising. As people's access becomes more mobile, as it undoubtedly will, they could see their position disappearing. So they needed so fix a hook in to get their advertising onto this new, mobile internet.
None of the previous Android phones have delivered, and some were already starting to generate bad press (the lack of an upgrade path for Samsung phones for example). So Google has been forced into making this move. This isn't something that Google wanted to do. They know the dangers. Don't think they did it because of the end-user though, it was entirely out of self-interest.
Orlowski allowing comments!!!!
And getting a severe kicking from the 'tards I see. Must disagree with most of what you've written here Andrew. No Lumpa fan I but just because they've collaborated with a manufacturer to compete in the hardware market doesn't mean they're shafting the carriers. In fact by opening up routes past the cartels you could argue they're doing good while trying to turn an honest buck. Superphone? it's just marketing hype but at least consumers can get it without signing away their freedom for a couple of years.
Android = "Linux"
Google have to release all their "advantage" under the GPL. If they try shafting the freetards then they'll soon find Android clone forks popping up all over the place, and a sudden enthusiasm for LIMO. And then Google has a new problem - trying to innovate as fast as the freetards.
What everyone seems to also have forgotten in these phone discussions is the 800Lb gorilla in the corner of the room - Intel. Intel are showing a serious desire to get deeper into the PDA and smart device market, and they have always had a very capable code-writing team (Intel have done plenty of Linux work). I wouldn't be surprised to see Intel putting some investment in LIMO's direction if Android starts boosting non-Intel CPU sales.
My brand is bigger than yours?
I still don't get the piont? How does did in anyway screw over Sony or Motorola or any other phone maker? My brand is bigger than yours! Though luck!
One of the ways to compete with (kinda) "open source" products is brand name. Something Google clearly understands what's the big deal here?
As long as Andriod remains quasi "open source" and avialble to others no problems, right?
Wake up -- the mobile networks have been screwing us for years! And now that someone finally fights back you whine?
Its about time someone got revenge. Thanks, Google.
As I sit here with my Nexus One
My heart bleeds, it really does, for Big Telecom and Big Media.
OH BOO HOO.
The mobile manufacturer/network combination has been shafting it's customers for years - good to see them getting a taste of what they've been dishing out.
I really like the current method, google's phone isnt made by google, and using it it isn't using googles GSM network. Instead they are just selling a phone they feel shows off their OS properly and they decide what happen's with it instead of operators. Any operator wanting to sell this phone can they ether just buy the same handset from HTC or just sell it via google.
I see googles point look at samsung who arnt letting their andriod using customers update the version? or where the operator tweaks and changes make the andriod system look bad. At least this way google have a way of saying look this is how it could run. If people like it and buy it the good on em its about time mobile operators stopped crippling their handsets.
Not just that but Im sick of wanting to get a specific phone handset only to find its only carried by one mobile phone company, look at the iphone originally people who didnt want/like or have a bad history with O2 or AT&T didn't have a choice. You could buy it sim free but so many features didn't work or the tariff wasn't right etc. If handset/OS makers could actually say fine buy the phone's from us direct and any network that wants to sell it to their customers can through us. This would mean more customer choice and greater competition in the market. Bad handset's are then just bad its nothing to do with the network.
Phones aren't allowed to be blocked from use on other networks in th EU. Operators do do it, but if you go in a store they will unlock them (for a fee). Even the iPhone will apparently allow you to unlock it for use on other networks.
Where mobile phone operators are screwing us is in contract lock in (I remember when you could get 6 month contracts) on phone subsidised contracts.
I feel bad for Motorolla, Sony, etc.. but there are other platforms out there (like Symbian)
I don't know about other EU countries, but in France you are entitled to have your phone unlocked after six months. Probably a bit useless if you're locked to a 12 month survey, but nevermind...
You are also entitled to some sort of code number that will permit your phone number to be assigned to a different operator. It doesn't always work, but usually it does.
Oh, and these are legal provisions. You don't need to pay. So when your contract expires, you can take your phone and your number and go to somebody else who will charge you the same amount of money for the same service (hoho - we appear to have three carriers: orange, sfr, and boygues - all of which are clones; every other service is a virtual reseller, i.e. "Virgin mobile" resells orange, as does "Breizh Telecom"...).
Many supermarkets have started selling their own service (most of which resell....orange!) so there are messages around explaining what you need and who to contact.
I believe also (but have no confirmation) that contracts longer than 12 months are not valid, for both mobile phones and ADSL. You can carry on as long as you like, but your maximum obligation is 12 consecutive months. But, as I said, I'll need to go into Willow-mode for that.
If an enterprise bites the dust because it tries to hang onto an obsolete business, this is is called "capitalism" or "the market force". Nothing wrong with the shafting of EMI or oversized mobile phone operators then.
Nothing to see here, move on please ...
Google - The bastard child of Microsoft
Google has a hard act to follow - Microsoft did the same when it knifed its partners in the PlaysForSure alliance. Zune didn't support the PlaysForSure DRM and the Zune DRM wasn't open to the PlaysForSure alliance.
In case you don't know, Microsoft's Zune works only with its own content service called Zune Marketplace, not PlaysForSure. Microsoft announced that as of August 31, 2008, PlaysForSure content from their retired MSN Music store would need to be licensed to play before this date or burned permanently to CD, although this decision was later reversed due to the screaming of both alliance members and fucked-over customers.
Wow! An open comment section in an article by Mr. Orlowski? I'm stunned! I'm flabbergasted! I'm so shocked, I can't think of anything interesting to say.
And so, I'll just say that, as other times before, I enjoyed the article and agree with most of your views on the subject. As you, I've seen right-through most of Google's "free puppet show" for the masses, and have strived to understand their machinations; I can't really understand why nobody else is able (or willing) to see them as clearly.
I see nothing wrong with what google is doing. At least they are transparent and openly state all your emails R belong to us and even openly admit giving the feds a free pass to browse through your private docs, emails, etc without any kind of court orders whereas other companies try to avoid the issue (cough Yahoo). As for googles phone, I'll pass, but not because it's googles but rather because I'd rather have something even more open like the nokia n900. Has lighter specs but you can't beat it's OS.
Nevertheless, Google is a tad sinister
They took Firefox's source code and built a browser they're using to try and beat the shit out of Firefox. They took Linux, turned it into Android (and later, Chrome OS) and are using it to beat the shit out of the desktop and mobile Linux distros. And then there's the business of them stealing and trying to profit from other peoples' creations (case in point: EMI and also all the deeply wrong orphan works crap).
All in all, Google make Microsoft and Apple look pretty saintly. Hell, they make Blackwater and Haliburton look pretty saintly.
Fortunately, I don't think its a home run for Google. Most people still treat Nokia as their goto supplier for new phones so they do have a finite amount of time to get their act together with a meaningful Smartphone and app delivery strategy (in that respect, perhaps it's time to kill Symbian and Ovi). Likewise, you have a super evil company who wants to take over the world and destroy your computer, OS and phone business? Well, there's an App for that (several of them, in fact).
calm down dear
Actually, chrome is built upon webkit, largely maintained by Apple, and I'm 99.99% sure they're very happy google picked it instead of Firefox's Gecko.
You can't steal Linux, or any open source code, that's the whole point, anyone can take the code, reuse or extend it and everyone else gets to see the changes* and incorporate them if wanted.
Google is just another corporation, they have an agenda, sometimes it aligns with we the punters, sometimes against us, you really don't have to use them (yet), if you don't want to though.
*ish, depends on the licence
I thought chrome was based on webkit, not mozilla?
Also, I thought Linux was an open affair, with each distro standing on its own two legs - how is it "beating the other distros over the head"? Personally, I'd love to see a slick linux desktop that is ready for the prime time - ubuntu was a good step forward, but still needs work.
And about orphan works... meh, they're orphan so who is to lose out on the money? Personally I'm glad that someone is giving them a fresh breath of life.
No, my problem with Google is how opaque they are... if they were perfectly open about what they do with all of your data, then I'd be willing to trust them more - tho I'd still not trust them to the point of giving all my data to them.
Chrome is WebKit based, not Mozilla
"They took Firefox's source code and built a browser they're using to try and beat the shit out of Firefox."
They took WebKit, Apples and KDE's source code, also used by Nokia and others, to make a browser and a desktop OS! Mozilla code is not the base here and still have a big contributor in Google without Google using it for more than an alternative for IE. Now Google have made their own alternative and it will be interesting to see if their contribution to Mozilla will change?
I accept nothing from you, AC, you can blow it out your arse.
Have a nice day!
We beg you not to publish replies to posts you whipped out, it makes us hmm... Let's say it excites our feverish collective imaginations.
Capitalism at work
This is free market capitalism at its best. Just as a cartel think they've sewn up a market, along comes a new player to inject some life into it.
What do the operators want? Surely not more market regulation?
They are the real villains of the piece, as their casual use of a disability as a term of abuse shows.
Progress ain't easy
The wireless situation was hopelessly blocked up by companies preventing progress to maximize their profits. Along comes Google and says "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" I care less about the business models of companies that won't give me progress than I do about the ones that do. So forgive me for not shedding a tear for the poor defenseless wireless cabal with their deliberately incompatible networks, vendor lock-in, locked-down phones. I will not lament the end of their stately motion toward newer and better technologies - we've paid them well and they let us down. Now it's time for a bumpy breakneck scramble into the future, complete with bruises and pain - but it will be an exciting ride.
/grenade because there was no plunger.
Sucks to be you
Perhaps you could try looking up his references somewhere, perhaps on some sort of electronic network . . .
I am shocked, shocked to find out
Let's see if got it right:
In 2008 Google partnered with HTC to create a Google-branded smartphone, the HTC Dream, other phone makers saw that it was good and decided to created their own android phones.
In 2010 Google partened with HTC to create a Google-branded smartphone, the nexus one. Other phone makers are shocked, shocked to find out, and go around saying "How could they do this to us?!!"
Is that it?
It's not so bad, unless it backfires
The problem with smartphones is that most of them were crap.
Essentially, telecom providers (in the US at least) tried to lock you into their crap products, services, and monitized websites. It was something like AOL.
What Google has done (With help from Apple) is say: The internet should be the internet, not some lame version of it that only monitizes your carrier.
If handset manufactures were not tweaking Android (badly) so that it took them a lot of effort to enable a handset upgrade, there would be little percieved need for a Gphone. However, many manufacturers have setup complex (apparently bitmapped) UI's that are not generic enough to be portible; hence they have not updated from Android 1.5 or 1.6. (Samsung, Motorola, HTC...) Since this has happened, there is a percieved need for a handset that won't be tied to whims of the carrier - or handset manufacturer.
This is what the Gphone provides. It has (and will likely continue to have) the "latest, most-hype-iest" OS version to date. You can be pretty sure that the OS will continue to be able to upgrade to the latest version - even if that version is too heavy for your phone. This is not the case with many phones that people assumed would be upgradable to new software - as the existing one had teething issues.
I think that end-users have stopped trusting statements from Telecom operators (Hello AT&T: How long did we wait for MMS on the iPhone? How about tethering?) Combine this with the perception that "someone is keeping me from upgrading my OS" and there is perception that a Gphone (Showing how it's done right, upgradable and everything.) is needed. There is nothing that keeps vendors from allowing upgrades of their old phones to the "Newist Shiniest" but them selves.
Wireless Operators want the most money for themselves. They want to be the customers for all phone vendors. Apple made them change the way they did things, to benefit the consumers with new features. Google is just continuing this: their customers are not the Wireless companies, but the End users. AOL is dead. Long live the internet.
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