Samsung owns the vast majority of the market share for Android, 29.6% in fact. That may not seem like a big number, but it dominates the competitors: in Q4 2013 alone Samsung shipped 86 million phones. That’s on top of a platform that already owns the vast majority of smartphone OS market share at a good 81%. This puts Samsung in a very good position to dictate what the current state of Android is….and it’s very far removed from creator Google’s vision.
It starts with Touchwiz as pointed out in a recent Forbes article. A Samsung technology to provide a new user experience and frontend to Android that replaces or adds many different features to the Android smartphone. Some good, some bad….while many critics argue that Touchwiz is a terrible and bloated interface, you can’t argue with sales numbers and hardware. This extended to other Samsung products including it’s popular television sets and a new OS in development at Samsung to replace Android: Tizen. But that hides the core of the “Android experience” as it’s been dubbed in the media. And Google wants Samsung to sit down, shut-up and keep licensing Google technology.
This is where Motorola came into play.
Acquiring Motorola for 12.5 billion dollars and then selling it for 2.91 billion on the surface seems like a bad business decision. And surely enough there were many pundits that made that call. But what the majority are forgetting are the numerous patents acquired from the sale for mobile technology (around 17,000 to be precise). This sale occurred in 2011. A few years later, Google decided to use Motorola to teach Samsung a lesson.
Enter the Motorola Droid RAZR, X and G. Three popular phones that run almost bare stock Android. The purpose of these phones were simple, show users what fast, simple Android could do on it’s own. Google also began focusing more effort on the Nexus line, dropping Samsung as the manufacturer and taking on LG to release the Nexus 4.
Clearly the growing popularity of these phones and the market share of Motorola under Google was threatening to Samsung. So they decided to cut a deal in which they would license Google technology for 10 years. Effectively cutting off Tizen and with promises that Samsung would stop cutting out stock Android apps for it’s own Touchwiz interface.
The next day, Lenovo bought Motorola from Google for 2.91 billion dollars.
I think this article really goes to show that people aren’t going to tolerate Google’s abuse of information gathering. I also think it is good that these countries are calling attention to these abuses, as I don’t think many average users of Google services know how much data they are giving away. Although Google may be fined by these countries, I don’t think they will impact Google so much. From what I understand, the fines that could be imposed would barely be able to put a dent in Google’s economic infrastructure. I think the greatest impact that these nations could have on Google will stem from the public awareness that they are raising and the possible bans that could be put in place. I think if they go through with the ban in those markets, we could very well see a much more “tame” Google in terms of the user’s privacy. I think it is good that these countries are doing this because Google needs to be brought back down to Earth before they go overboard and severely damage the privacy of every individual.
The campaign includes newspaper ads, billboards and videos ranging from creepy,very creepy, and sometimes funny, very funny (or as funny as an ad made by Microsoft can get).
As part of the ad campaign Microsoft has a petitioned to get Google to stop reading email to sell ads which has gotten over 100,000+ people sign it.
Microsoft has comment on the ad campain saying
“Privacy of email services is a fair subject for a petition, and 6,000 people have said so in just a few days. Over 500,000 people have visited our website and tens of thousands have tried Outlook.com. It is a serious public policy issue a lot of people care about.”
In Microsoft press release on their “educational campaign”
“Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale,” Weitz said. “We believe people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing their medical history.”
Weitz added, “Outlook.com does not scan the contents of your personal email to sell ads. Outlook.com is an email service that prioritizes your own and your family’s privacy. You wouldn’t let the post office look inside your mail, so why would you let Google?”
The irony is Microsoft is using target ads to get it message across that Gmail reads your email to generate targeted ads. Also both Outlook and gmail “read” your email to filter out spam anyway.