Google and Samsung have enjoyed a beautiful Android marriage since consummating in 2007. Samsung has helped make Android the most popular smartphone operating system on earth, and record Android sales have made Samsung the most successful smartphone manufacturer on earth. Both companies get to be king of their respective domains. Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt that Google’s main smartphone competitor Apple is furiously trying to sue the pants off Samsung.
The Android marriage might beget an Android civil war between the two tech titans, though. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google's Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google's lucrative mobile-ad business.”
The report on Google becoming wary of Samsung is behind a Wall Street Journal firewall, which may or not let you read the article based on how often you visit their site and whether you have a subscription. But we’ve encapsulated the juiciest bits of Android OS palace intrigue for you below.
“Google is meeting with other companies in hopes that their Android devices can keep Samsung's leverage in check by providing legitimate competition,” Journal author Amir Efrati writes. “The Internet-search company is hoping new Android devices from manufacturers such as HTC Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. can challenge Samsung.”
Samsung has made a lot of money for Google these past six years by getting Google ads to display on hundreds and millions of smartphones. Samsung is the world’s leading Android manufacturer with 200 million more devices than their closest competitor, HTC. And that Galaxy Nexus 4 of theirs is fabulous.
The problem for Google is that Samsung has been a little too effective making Android the No. 1 smartphone operating system on earth. Samsung is going to want their fare share for their role in Android’s blockbuster success – in the form of a significant cut of Google’s Android phone ad revenue. “Samsung in the past has received more than 10% of such revenue,” the Journal reports. “Samsung has signaled to Google that it might want more, especially as Google begins to produce more revenue from apps such as Google Maps and YouTube.”
This is why we may see a scorched-earth battle over the Android turf. Google, for its part, is reportedly developing a Google X Phone -- a spin-off from their recent Motorola Mobility purchase that would supposedly blow away any Samsung phone. Samsung is retaliating with their own version of a Windows phone, and a new smartphone OS called Tizen that would allow you to move your apps over from Android -- at no charge.
Switching your apps over to a different operating system, at no additional charge? That’s how consumers will certainly win with increased competition in the smartphone arena. Unless, of course, we get way too confused at all these different Android, Google X, and Samsung offerings that we just say “Screw it” and buy an iPhone instead.