Google vs Samsung: The New Mobile War?

Over the past few years we have become familiar with the sight of Apple trying to sue the proverbial rear off Samsung (should it change its name to Samsuing!) over alleged patent infringements, but last week I read there is a more intriguing battle going on – Samsung against Google.

At the moment everything in the garden looks rosy as the basic assumption is that Google, as the controller of the Android platform, is in charge of this particular marketplace. But could Samsung’s dominance lead to a new power struggle? There is the potential for this cosy anti-Apple alliance to implode.

As for marketing and promotional spend of various companies in recent years, it is obvious that Samsung is arguably buying marketshare. Anyone who keeps an eye on the Samsung vs Apple battle cannot but noticed the cheeky advertisements pointing out the alleged iPhone shortfalls when compared to the Galaxy SII and SIII phones.

Bearing in mind Samsung’s dominance of the Android smartphone market with HTC almost dropping off the radar, I have to wonder of Google’s choice of LG for the Nexus 4 handset was more than just spreading the goodies among a wider net.

Unassailable Stronghold

There are a number of ways Samsung could try and force its dominance into a further unassailable stronghold. First, Android is open source and by legally modifying the source code it could create its own focused Samsung App Marketplace depriving Google of potentially substantial income streams. This is not as far fetched as it seems when you consider what is happening in China with Android derivatives such as Tapas.

Second, Samsung is in a strong position to demand a chunk of the revenue generated by data fed back through the Google filters by charging the Big G a fee for running Android apps on its market busting handsets.

North Korea

On the other hand Google has bought Motorola and there is nothing to say it won’t use this manufacturing facility to build its own range of Android handsets with fast upgrades to the latest versions leaving the likes of Samsung LG and others trailing in its wake. It is also interesting that Eric Schmidt has been visiting North Korea and I don’t think he is doing that just to see if they really do eat dogs.

Stand back and there is an air of semi polite cooperation between the major players but that could change. But bear one thing in mind. The future of the Internet is mobile and despite Google’s cuddly “don’t do evil” ethic and Samsung’s cheeky chappy approach, this could turn into a truly nasty shit kicking contest because there unimaginable amounts of money at stake.

If this happens you and me will be sitting ringside alongside happy Apple users watching the blood flow.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.

  • Gabriel

    Your article is pure speculation and has no facts behind it. Not even a hint …

    I don’t believe Google’s “substantial income” comes from the Android Market either. The moment Samsung begins to actively contribute to Android – as in open source contribution – then you can have a hint.

    And what is North Korea got to do with this?