Why Google’s Purchase Of Motorola Is A White Flag Of Surrender, And How Apple Won The Future of Tech [Opinion]

Why Google’s Purchase Of Motorola Is A White Flag Of Surrender, And How Apple Won The Future of Tech [Opinion]

This morning, Google made a bold move and purchased Motorola’s mobile business for $12.5 billion. In doing so, Google brought the hardware design and manufacturing of Android devices in-house, just as Apple has always done with its products, starting with the original Macintosh and continuing all the way to the iPhones and iPads of today.

This is nothing short of a capitulation. By purchasing a smartphone maker, Google has all but admitted that it needs more than just a free operating system and loads of partners to compete with Apple: they need to duplicate Apple’s successes by totally controlling both the hardware and software of their devices.

It’s not just Google that has come to this conclusion. Microsoft recognized the same thing earlier this year when they partnered with Nokia to make handsets designed from the ground up for Windows Phone 7. And HP — long a company that has slapped other companies’ operating systems on their machines — purchased Palm for its webOS mobile operating system last year.

Noticing a pattern? For years, Apple was the odd duck out while Microsoft sold a flavor of Windows for every gadget that would run it. Apple was laughed at, while people like Michael Dell suggested that Apple should either switch to Windows or fold up shop.

Who’s laughing now? Apple is the second most valuable company on Earth, with a cash hoard of over $70 billion. The dominance of Apple’s products, its software and its digital media and app empire is completely unparalleled. Apple controls the world’s largest app store and make thirty cents off every dollar on millions of transactions a day.

How’d Apple do it? By never taking a short cut. By never compromising on Steve Jobs’ vision of what computers should be: a pure amalgam of software and hardware into a single, magical product. Apple’s competitors made some short-term gains by only building their own hardware, or their own software, then outsourcing the rest, but Apple’s strategy was a long tail one… and now that tail is growing at an explosive rate.

Look at the tech landscape right now, and Apple dominates every corner of it. Apple builds and sells the most popular smartphone on Earth. Meanwhile, a year and a half after its debut, the iPad is the tablet market. iOS is the second most popular mobile platform on the planet, despite the fact that it’s only available to run on Apple’s own products. Then there’s the Mac, which continues to grow even as the PC and Notebook categories shrink. Meanwhile, across the board, Apple is realizing unheard of profit margins on gadgets so finely built that the competition can’t even come close to matching their quality at the price… this despite the so-called Apple Tax.

Google may control the most popular mobile platform on Earth in Android, but Apple’s making far more off of iOS with just a few devices than the search giant is with its army of Android licensees. The iOS App Store may be a walled garden, but it is dense with a luscious, self-sustaining ecosystem; comparatively, the Android Marketplace is a desert in which a few assorted cacti thrive.

Now that Google has bought Motorola, it’s time to take stock of the situation: after thirty years, the computer industry has recognized what Apple has known all along. To be the best, to build the best, you need to control every aspect of your products. A smartphone, a computer, a tablet… it’s not enough for these things to be just a bunch of off-the-shelf components smashed together. A gadget need to be designed from the ground up to be whole.

Google, of course, isn’t just taking control of Android’s hardware destiny by purchasing Motorola. They are also protecting Android from litigation by picking up a portfolio of thousands of patents. Even so, it’s hard not to think that the purchase represents the end of an era of sub-par gadgets that have been designed by committee… and the beginning of the future Apple’s envisioned all along.

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  • Tom McGrath

    I’m glad Google came to their senses. Now, will the products still be known as Motorola, or will they become Google? Google Xoom… Google Defy… Doesn’t sound quite as good, so most likely they’ll stick with Motorola. I answered my own question.

  • thomin

    Wait, I thought it was mostly about Motorola patents as a bargaining tool…

  • Andrew Brown

    Brownlee=Apple fanboy.  Pretend that the competitor purchasing one of the biggest mobile manufactures doesn’t mean anything.

  • Finlay MacArthur

    MoGo is my bet.

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    I’m still struggling to see how the acquisition will turn out in the long run, but for the moment, Larry Page clearly stated that Motorola would remain an independent business and will retain its own brand, culture and separate operations – so Motorola devices are not getting a Google brand. They’ll even have separate financial reports. They will still have to bid like HTC and Samsung to manufacture a next-gen Nexus device.

  • vanmacguy

    @Andrew, Cultofmac = Apple fan site, don’t come here if you don’t want to read gushing commentaries about Apple. And if you do come here, don’t complain about it.

  • imbenking

    I have edited my comment. It is worth noting the top says “opinion” so that is all good! :)

  • xraydelta1

    No, this won’t fracture the handset manufacturers or the Android developers even further than they already are… no, not at all. Motorola won’t get any preferential treatment over Samsung and HTC. Uh huh, sure. Developers WILL have to write multiple versions of apps, which they are of course happy to do, given how profitable the Android marketplace is for them.

  • aardman

    Can you imagine Toyota buying generic engines from an independent engine manufacturer?  Can you imagine Denon buying generic amp circuit boards from an independent circuit board manufacturer?  Can you imagine Nikon buying generic lenses from a generic camera lens maker? No, no and no!  The history of complex manufactured mass consumer goods is one of product evolution towards integrated design of the product and integrated organization of major component manufacturing.  It is the only way to squeeze out the maximum level of product refinement and optimization that fierce competition requires of companies.  The only anomaly was the Windows PC because it was missing a key ingredient: competition.  Google failed to recognize this key fact and so they thought that if they emulated Windows’ “open” model then they would achieve Windows’ monopoly fueled success.  Big mistake.  And even if they now switch to Apple’s model, there’s still the matter of do they have the right combination of creative software and hardware designers to successfully pull it off.  My guess is: No.

  • MacGoo

    Did you read the article? He didn’t say that at all – of course it is significant. He’s simply illustrating the obvious paradigm shift that other companies are having to undergo to compete with Apple.

  • soapisclean

    Phew and here I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to spin this story and bend it around far enough to reach Steve Job’s perched ass*ole ready for a good ‘ol fanboi licking.

    Congrats on a job well done.

  • Patrick Escudero

    Removed as to not be too insulting.

  • travisgamedev

    They will be separate for now. Just wait until they decide to super charge the phones, like they suggested. They will not be able to keep the software and hardware separate to do that. Only a streamlined hardware and software integrated life cycle will bring this about.

  • aardman

    Doesn’t matter what they say.  Do you really believe that if Moto starts to flounder, Google will just let their 12.5 billion baby die on the vine?  Do you believe that there will be no word of mouth and so it will never ever become common knowledge that Moto is Google?  Do you believe that even with this knowledge, Android buyers will not start to gravitate towards Moto?

    Larry Page can keep making announcements until he’s blue in the face but his mouth is not where he put his money.  Any Android manufacturer not named Motorola would be wise to remember the ballad of Plays For Sure and Zune and start exploring alternative strategies now.

  • aardman

    Ditto :-)

  • mma589

    great article, very well written !

  • gerenm63

    Just FYI – At least one of Nikon’s zoom lenses is designed and partially made by Tokina. Of course, Tokina was formed by three of Nikon’s lens designers who got tired of Nikon telling them that a good zoom lens could never be built… Also, the “G” series lenses were initially farmed out to a third party… Nikon also buys components from Sony (sensors) and Canon (motors)… Just sayin’…

  • Luigi Louissaint

    I love it…look whose laughing now…it was only a matter of time really! Open source is like communism, it only works on paper! 

  • RF9

    White flag? Google isn’t admitting anything.  This started by looking at Moto’s patent portfolio and in the process decided that buying Moto made more sense.  This is really nothing more than an IP purchase.  Sure now that they’ll own Moto it will change how they do business to a degree, but I don’t see this as admitting defeat. If anything they’re stronger because they’ll be on 2 fronts.  Both making their own phone as well as licensing it to the world.

  • aardman

    Of course they do, and I do not mean that everyone becomes a pure vertically integrated manufacturer.  But they seldom outsource **key** components (like the engine of a car) and if they do, they try to avoid using generically designed key components, they have them exclusively designed to their custom specs.

    Now you’re not going to tell me that all (or most) of Nikon’s lenses are completely designed and built by Tokina and sport the Tokina brand do you? Or that Nikon is one of several camera makers built around a universal Tokina line of lenses? :-)

  • imbenking

    hah :)

  • yamate132

    Actually, I think Nikon does outsource manufacture of some but not all lenses.  I have no universal knowledge about the range of claims you make but I expect many decisions  - even ones you refer to as no no no – are driven by what makes commercial sense to those in the driving seat at the time.  Without knowing the specific reasons underlying a decision it’s difficult to do other than speculate, but checking facts always helps…

  • Juan2X

    I am not going to call Brownlee a fanboy – but let’s not forget Apple’s poor labor record; most of you don’t even bother to read about labor unrest in it’s Chinese factories (and let’s not pretend they don’t RUN those factories) – it has as much to do with their profit margins as any “magical” products – Also, Apple needs to stop pretending it’s an “American” company – most of its jobs are elsewhere.

  • TheMacAdvocate

    The IP is the only wheel on Motorola that isn’t going to come flying off the car within 2 years. Long after Google fires off a couple of Android duds under the Motorola label, long after Google grows tired of dumping money into a failed hardware manufacturer, those sweet patents will still…well…what are those patents going to do for them again?

  • Cave Dog

    I agree – no admission of defeat here, but disagree that this was primarily an IP grab. If Google complained about the $4.5b price the consortium that includes Apple paid recently for Nortel’s IP, how could they possibly justify $12.5b for Moto’s set of patents?

    No, Google is clearly aiming at the vertical integration approach, but to make that shift is not “defeat” – simply acknowledging the control afforded such a strategy will give them a significantly greater position from which to compete against Apple, HP, et. al.

    I do think, however, that regardless of how much they talk of keeping Moto somewhat independent now, the integration of hardware with Android will eventually push Google to pull Android from other handset makers. Or, at least, make the licensed version much less palatable to consumers.

  • Talk2Tony

    What will the phone manufactures now that Google will compete with them? Will Google create a walled garden and if so will developers stick. These are the important questions Google faces.
    Google has a long way to go to develop a smooth integrated system , never mind the culture clash and googles lack of focus. Then they face the biq question will they be contributing to the death of search as they know it by sUpporting Apples model and will they compete in search on the app platform vs net. What happens to chrome?

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    As far as I can tell, the author is being rather conservative about Apple’s true power.  Google and Motorola combined don’t have one tenth the power of Apple.

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    Doesn’t matter what I believe. You rock!

  • ConceptVBS

    Clamoring for straws John.

  • AlexJames987332

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidFirst.com

  • Dermot Gildea

    $12.5bn is lot to lay out for a patent portfolio – especially as they passed up on ‘cheaper’ lots recently as Cave Dog pointed out.   Google does not own any manufacturing business up to now so it will be interesting to see how well they handle the integration.   I agree with John – this move means Google has accepted that – along with MS/Nokia, HP/WebOS, Apple/iOS and RIM/BlackberryOS-QNX – to be successful in mobile devices you need to integrate hardware & software.   Jobs likes to quote Alan Kay: “people who are serious about software should make their own hardware”.   Now the game gets interesting.

  • Honey Badger

    Google simply wants their greasy fingers in every corner of our lives. We are nothing more than food to them. Food for their real customers, the advertisers. Google keeps a steady stream of “food” for their customers, by offering us “free” services. It didn’t bother me much at first, I trusted Google. Google have finally shown their true face – and it’s ugly.

    I’m not criticizing the Android OS, it’s quite nice. I’m not knocking some of the Android hardware, it’s also nice. What I have a problem with is the way that Android came to be and why it came to be.

    The less Google invades my life, the better. I do NOT trust them. Apple’s not perfect, but they work hard to make great consumer devices and in turn, sell them. WE are their primary customers.

    Personally, I am not at all comfortable with the way that Google does business and how they continually attempt to invade more and more of my daily life for no other reason than to sell me out to their advertisers.

    I used to like Google. I am so disappointed with what they have become. I avoid this company and their “free” services like the plague.

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    It’s interesting to see how Apple compares to everybody else. Though if anything we can say that quality is now coming to Android. It would be sad if it came to Android faster than Microsoft and Nokia get their act together.

  • Honey Badger

    Dude, that is the same with every high-tech manufacturer. Apple at least do unnanounced spot checks and have strict guidelines in place that their suppliers must follow. I’m not sure what poor record that you are referring to.

    I’m not trivializing the way that our devices are built at all, we don’t live in a perfect world.  While not perfect, Apple does more than most companies to ensure that it’s supplier’s workers are treated well.

  • Alfiejr

    Google had to realize it’s give-away-free strategy with Android is doomed to end by next year with legal attacks from all sides – other companies like Apple and MS with various UI/OS patents, Oracle with Java, and who knows who with Linux enforcement rights. so they have sent a clear message to all the OEM’s that now feature Android: You’re On Your Own! we’re gonna save our own ass first!! Googlerola will make legal settlements with all the rights holders to protect its own Droid products, but not anybody else’s.

    so now:

    HP would be crazy not to license WebOS. this is just the chance it needs to grow its market base to a viable scale.

    MS/Nokia need to get good products into the stores quickly or wind up a permanent MS “hobby.”

    RIM should find a buy out partner while its QNX OS still has a future. how about Facebook?

    Samsung better speed up work on Bada. and snap up Sony (bye bye Ericsson)?

    all these vertically integrated companies will split up maybe 80% of a very fragemented smartphone market, with Apple holding the biggest share at perhaps 25%. the other independent OEM’s like HTC without an OS of their own will get ground up like hamburger trying to compete for the leftovers by licensing whatever OS they can.

    Boodbath. every man for himself!

  • FalKirk

    “Brownlee=Apple fanboy. Pretend that the competitor purchasing one of the biggest mobile manufactures doesn’t mean anything.”-Andrew Brown

    Oh, it means something all right. Just not what you think it means.

  • FalKirk

    Stay away from the Casinos.

  • FalKirk

    Phew and here I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to spin your comment and bend it around into a gratuitous and wholly irrelevant insult of the author and the head of Apple.

    Congrats on a job done poorly.

  • RF9

    Answer to the first question.  Google blew it by excluding themselves from the consortium and has to make up for it by getting patents elsewhere (Moto.)  That’s how it’s justified.  Either that or Google had reasons to believe that the Consortium would have been bad for them and this is either why, or their answer to that.  By spending 12.5 they get more than just patents, they get the whole business.  So I know it’s not just a patent grab.  But my point is that this started off as a way to find patent leverage which turned in to a “Actually it would make sense to buy the whole company because it’ll help us solve a lot of problems.”

    I’m not arguing that Google doesn’t need this.  In fact I think they do.  Android fragmentation is the sole reason I haven’t switched.  I don’t like the skins.  I don’t know who will offer updates.  And Nexus being the only option which is typically not the latest/best hardware.

    I don’t disagree with many of the points of the article.  All I’m saying is that this is not a white flag (read “We surrender.”)  Rather a strategic move to improve their business.  Google isn’t surrendering to anything.  *IF* and I mean *IF* they think for a second that they’re losing ground, this is the next move to move or stay ahead.  This is not throwing in the towel and waving a white flag.

    The way I see it Google is now positioned to dominate.
    They’ll have their own hardware and therefore DICTATE how handset can, should and will be made (the Apple model.)  You could get premium handsets with timely updates and no bloatware.  This may also set a competitive example to other device makers to meet or exceed features and quality.They’ll continue to openly license it to anyone who wants to make a phone (their classic model) which will keep a variety and abundance of affordable handsets on the market.

    MS and Google now have a two pronged approach at their business (their own + licensing) whereas Apple has their single.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
    (by MS having “their own” I’m referring to Nokia which is almost like having their own handset business.)

  • FalKirk

    “Sure now that they’ll own Moto it will change how they do business to a degree”-RF9

    Congratulations. You have now mastered the art of the understatement. 

    Google just went from the licensing model to the integrated model. And you’re saying that will change how they do business “to a degree”? How about 180 degrees.

  • FalKirk

    “let’s not forget Apple’s poor labor record”-Juan2X

    Let’s not forget to bring up topics that are totally unrelated to the article that we’re supposed to be commenting on.

    Juan, get some meds and try to stay on topic. 

  • Mike Rathjen

    How many more months before you guys can get on top of this?

  • lls49
  • Canuck2

    Just Piss off then!

  • Plantino

    I feel nostalgic all of a sudden. You guys remember when Apple only controlled about 9% of the computer OS’s while Windows had something like 80%? 

    Oh… right. I forgot that was two hours ago.

  • Plantino

    But I tease. Apple does rock. It’s amazing power is beyond the reach of those pesky Android lackeys. Apple is probably right to block it’s competitors’ through mass lawsuits. Withouth that, who knows what kind of innovations we could see happeing all over the WORLD?

  • Plantino

    You mean like Nokia and RIM, who’ve been doing the same thing in their field while Apple was about to file for bankruptcy in the 90′s?

  • Plantino

    Interresting bit of trivia, seldom mentionned by fans such as myself… (I do own an iPod Touch). Apple builds it’s iPhones by using quite a few Samsung parts. 

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/0

    Just wanted to add a little “Piquant” to the conversation.

  • Plantino

    It kind’a is.

  • Plantino

    Now, now, boys. Play nice

  • David Shanahan

    Of course it remains to be seen if Google will actually use Moto to design fully thought out and ‘whole’ Android devices. Maybe they just bought Moto for the patents and will not really try to integrate it with Google’s Android development (HTC, Samsung, etc. may not let them for one thing).

    Maybe they still haven’t learned the Apple lesson? Certainly it’ll be a long hard road ahead for Google to become an integrated software/hardware company if they decide to try it. Lots of opportunities for political infighting, fiefdoms, division-on-division warfare and all the other common corporate problems Apple suffered from in spades in the 80s and 90s.

  • Plantino

    It actually IS on topic. We’re talking about a business model. Labor fit’s in there quite well. 

    Unless the topic is “Long live Apple, down with the open market and let’s embrace monopoly”‘ of course. But that wouldn’t be nice. I think Juan2X’ comment was written with tact and that it wasn’t aimed at destroying our beliefs in Apple. We’re having a great discussion here!

    We’ve got to keep an open mind, here, or else we’ll fall into mindless religious zele.

  • Plantino

    Are you honestly comparing Zune with Android in terms of popularity and profitability?

  • Plantino

    You know, capitalism does look good too on paper. Yet we’re down to two near-apocalyptic economic crisis in 3 years…

    But I digress…

    And, for the record, Open Source is more like capitalism (freedom) while Vertical Integration is more like Communism (Controlled by the State)…

    Just respectfully sayin’…

  • SbMobile

    This deal isn’t going to help Motorola make any money again. They haven’t profited in years.

  • Lazlo Van Caster

  • yu119995

    Wow.  I’m speechless.  You’re opinion appears to be the exception to the rule where the rule seems to be far more educated on the matter than you do.  No offence mind you.  I believe your URL says it all.

    Oddly enough you contribute about 5% of your horribly inaccurate post to the real reason: the patents.  Good luck.

  • Lazlo Van Caster

    I totally agree that Apple tying hardware en software together is a success story. And of course Apple has won the technology war. But this doesn’t mean that Google has to copy Apple! 

    Let’s say we have a market with two players. If Google will copy Apple they will end up in a Bertrand paradox. So it as if the duopoly will act as a competitive market (with lower profit). The only way to escape this paradox is to differentiate! Thus, Google has to continue differentiating instead of copying.

  • stationstops

    I’m a Mac user and iOS developer, but I’m pretty certain this move was specifically to protect Google from Apple’s frivolous patent litigation as of late. Motorola has enough patents for mutually assured destruction againt Apple, so they will have to just sit down and compete with Android and send their lawyers home.

  • Welly_eh

    Apparently open source works well enough for Apple.

    http://www.opensource.apple.co

  • stationstops

    Motorola was obtaining patents on mobile phones for a few decades before Apple entered the market, which might illuminate for you why Apples patent trolling avoided them completely in favor of HTC and Samsung.

  • TylerHoj

    A well written and compelling article. I much rather these types of option pieces. Instead of rumour-mill nonsense about someone who heard from a guy, who knows this other guy, who works with this girl down the road from Foxconn, that heard from a source that the iPhone 5 will be slimmer. Ya know, I’m just saying’. 

  • lals33
  • Tyler Averell

    being a control freak does seem to pay off…

  • Frédéric Paché

    Hardware+Software by same company is not the magical spell. Result can be very bad.
    I’m a fan of Apple (bought my 1st Mac in 2000) and I’m very disappointed by last version of Mac OS X, Lion.
    My Macbook pro (2009) crashes very often under Lion nearly every time trying to download a file on the net… just like Windows 95 decades ago the only solution is to shutdown/reboot.
    Lion seems to be a “cosmetic” version over Snow Leopard. It’s like Windows 98 and Windows Millenium years ago… with problems added. I hope Apple will fix Lion very soon.

    This is just an example proving gathering hardware and software is not so easy even for Apple who made this during 3 decades.
    I’m glad to have an Android phone because it’s more “open” than the iPhone. Of course we depend on Google for next release of Android. But the OS code is really open to everyone once published. It’s not the case for Apple.
    The fact that Google bought Motorola is a very good thing for the market. Google will understand more the problems a phone manufacturer may encounter.
    Innovation comes from competition partly. Where will be Apple’s innovation if Apple is the only one phone company on earth? Steve wants a wondeful experience for the user, well, he wants to offer is own vision of a wonderful experience. Freedom is to be different, Freedom is all about choice.
    Years ago Apple promoted a campaign to “Think Different”. I think Android is playing this role today. Maybe Nokia should have embraced Android but that’s another story.

  • JDWages

    When will you Apple haters and revisionist historians finally end your diatribe once and for all?

    Apple never internally spoke about bankruptcy in the late 1990′s.  Had Steve Jobs not returned and had things continued to get much worse for Apple, Apple would not have filed for bankruptcy.  Instead some large corporation like Microsoft would have purchased them, and I doubt such a takeover would have been hostile either.  But that didn’t happen.  And that’s really all that matters.  “Apple could have died” is utterly meaningless now, just as it was back in the 1990′s.  

    Here’s what’s truly meaningful: “Apple is the second most valuable company on Earth, with a cash hoard of over $70 billion.”  And of course: “after thirty years, the computer industry has recognized what Apple has known all along. To be the best, to build the best, you need to control every aspect of your products.”  That’s what this article is all about.

    Mr. Brownlee, thank you for some insightful perspective on the Motorola Mobile acquisition.

  • Hampus

    Well Google has had some manufacturer create a new “Android Experience” (runs pure android without any added UI or apps) phone for every major release of Android (or most at least) so it’s not really a new realisation, they just figured they could make more money from people wanting stock Android :p

  • Hampus

    It might also be because they had valid cases against HTC and Samsung?
    But your right, what fun is there if there isnt a big conspiracy going on…

  • Caspian Prince

    Same goes for Microsoft! You can’t make generic products nowadays!

  • grouver

    I think you misunderstand what Google did. They do not wish to build phones or control the hardware. You will see in months and possibly years to come that Motorola will remain an independent unit. What Google did need were the patents that Motorola holds in the mobile space only Motorola would have never sold those alone. So Google bought the whole division. Microsoft’s situation on the other hand is very different. MS did indeed admit that they cannot do this alone and in fact I doubt that MS can do much in the mobile space. WP7 is a joke much bigger than the BB7 phones. Things work in labs and on paper but not really on real world phones and that’s all that counts.

    But anyway Google is very far from waving the white flag and for what it’s worth I really hope they change their mind and take full control of Moto’s hardware and product lineup. Maybe then we’ll finally get a real out of the box iPhone competitor. 

  • kozjegyzo

    12.5 Billion USD spent on battling, you call that “capitulation”? Wow, that must be one very big and expensive white flag! Really, how much Kool-Aid does it take to write this stuff?

  • lals42
  • Charel

    Apple took 10 years of dedicated focused work to get where it is today. All their competitors are starting now. The question is, do they have the stamina to stay the course. If not, Google’s buy is so much money thrown away. 
    In addition Google is not known for it’s focus on integrated software production and it has no experience at all in manufacturing and supply line organisation. They must think it is all easy.

  • Ed_Kel

    Right on, John!

    It’s good to see that you added in the fact that iOS is number 2 in popularity while Android remains 1 while also pointing out the fact that only a very few devices are capable of running iOS as opposed to the hundreds that run Android.

    I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten in arguments with my Android loving, Apple despising friends because they can’t understand the fact that Android will of course be number one because of the slew of cheap devices that run it.

  • Elder Norm

    “Google brought the hardware design and manufacturing of Android devices in-house”

    Just a thought but actually Google has done nothing of the sort.  They may eventually bring manufacturing in house but more likely they just wanted the patents. 

    Just a thought here. 

    en

  • Ed_Kel

    Not sure where you’re going with this post. Jobs has provided us the means to be different; and you are free to choose an Android over an iPhone so, if I’m reading this correctly, how does freedom of difference and freedom of choice favor Google or anybody for that matter? You have the freedom to alter and corrupt millions of lines of code? Who needs that much freedom on a smartphone? I’ll stick with my productivity czar (iPhone) because I’d rather have something that “just works”. I have yet to talk to someone that has given me a good enough example as to why you need THAT MUCH access to a mobile OS; even developers (which I am one) don’t need that much access…

    If you are having issues with OS X Lion, well, sorry to hear that. I have three Macs running Lion and I have only had a Track-Pad connectivity issue that has since been resolved so I can’t relate. I’m sure some people are having issues and I’m sure that the bugs will go away after the first couple of updates. However, it sounds like you are blaming the “Hardware+Software” visionary and I’m curious as to how a buggy release of an operating system (Which many sources will tell you that Lion is far from a buggy release) has anything to do with the overall vision of a company?

    Maybe I read your article wrong as in some parts the grammar is hard to follow, but nothing you stated makes any sense to me…

  • Ed_Kel

    Too many large words – please translate

  • MacGoo

    I never claimed every company would be successful using this strategy – simply that if they don’t adapt, they can’t survive. The vast majority of companies, even if they produce their own software AND hardware, will still fall short because in addition to this model, Apple also puts an extraordinary amount of emphasis on industrial design and build quality. Yet another paradigm shift for low-margin OEMs.

  • stationstops

    I’m sure Motorola could pull some valid patent cases against Apple as well – which is the point – they don’t. I’m sure Lodsys has a valid patent as well, but Apple considers them a troll. Point is, cool companies keep the patent guns in their holster and just compete, patents are for defense against other patent trolls, they aren’t an offensive weapon.

  • Plantino

    I don’t HATE Apple. I really do own Apple products, and though I enjoy their luster and commodity, I simply do not think they are eternal.

    As for the historical revisionist comment, I’ll consider them as the spiritual defense mechanism of an Apple Zealot (no harm intended, I think it normal to defend one’s beliefs. I also snap at people sometimes). The fact that Apple could have died is indeed unimportant if you consider the present situation. My point is that while Apple was failing to offer a valid alternative while still using a vertical integration model, others (i.e. Nokia and RIM) were working it pretty fine. Until recently, Apple was still dominated by both of them. 

    And when I say Apple was about to file for bankruptcy, I mean it would have done so without exterior help. Since he was ousted in ’85, this includes Steve Jobs, and this includes potential buyers. Apple’s financial state in the late-90′s was and still is generally considered as near-bankruptcy by analysts. Don’t take everything litteraly, please. 

  • Wilhelm

    You’re just as clueless as the editor of Business Insider who has removed his extensive column from today detailing what a stupid move it is for Google to buy Motorola.  After my detailed response, that HEADLINER column has now disappeared from that site.

    If you think this just about mobile devices with Android, you are TOTALLY missing the point.  Do a Google (ahem) search for “White Spaces” and Google,” then “White Spaces” and “Motorola.”  If they succeed in what they’re after, it’s your over-priced hardware that’s toast along with cell phone carriers.

  • Josef Ferguson

    So valid they had to file misleading evidence in their suit against Samsung.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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