Google 'worried' by might of Samsung on Android

Google 'worried' by might of Samsung on Android

Summary: The success of Samsung in the Android ecosystem is causing worries within Google, according to a report.


Samsung's dominance of Android is causing fears at Google that the South Korean smartphone maker may "flex its muscles" to renegotiate the pair's commercial terms, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

At a meeting last year, Google's Android chief Andy Rubin told executives he was delighted by Samsung's Android sales, but also warned it could become a threat if it increased its lead amongst Android manufacturers, according to the report.

The threat centres on the possibility that Samsung is in a position to demand a greater share of Google's mobile advertising revenues derived from search and other products.   

Samsung shipped 42 percent of the Android phones in 2012, with the next in line shipping just six percent, according to the latest figures from analyst firm Gartner. Rival analyst firm IDC put Samsung's smartphone shipments at 215 million for the year, which account for 30 percent of the market and are well ahead of HTC's 32 million. 

Given Samsung's dominance of smartphones and its rising share of tablet shipments, it could demand a larger cut on Google's revenues from Google search and YouTube. One fear for Google could be that Samsung follows Amazon's approach to the Kindle, which forked Android and cut off the core Google apps that generate revenue for the search company.

Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which makes smartphones and the Xoom tablet, was an "insurance policy" against such an event, according to the report.

Samsung, of course, is also moving to reduce its reliance on Android as Google develops its plans around the rumoured X Phone, with the scheduled release of Samsung handsets based on the Tizen OS later this year

On March 14 Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S4, which is the only line of Android smartphones to challenge Apple's iPhone at the high end of the market.

Topics: Samsung, Amazon, Android, Google, Mobile OS, Mobility

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Hahahahaha

    The Droid DNA bests the iPhone in most areas so I don't know why you guys think that Samsung's S4 is the only challenger.

    The RAZR MAXX HD beats it for Build Quality, Screen, and Battery life bit loses out on Camera.

    The Note 2 pretty much beats it everywhere except for intuitive front end. Samsung has jacked Android all up.
    • Have you seen he size of he Droid DNA

      It is gooney sized. That alone makes it a no use IMO.
      • I have seen it

        The Note II is larger and it managed to outsell all other phones in some countries.
        • re: managed to outsell all other phones

          So did Nokia phones years ago. What does this mean?

          Might be, people just had an already good mobile phone and just wanted a min-tablet?
    • Droid = Sh!t

      Had one (Droid X). Worst phone I've had. Not reliable, slow, buggy, and abandoned. Went to an iPhone and have not looked back nor will I ever go back to the junk that is Android.
  • funny nonsense :-)

    Funny nonsense..... Who is the source, Microsoft or Apple? I bet Microsoft......MS is involved in almost every govs corruption ;-)
    • Nonsense

      Google spends more $ in lobbying Washington DC (Google spent $16.48 million vs. Microsoft spent $8.09 million)

      Obama and Google are in bed:

      Now tell me who is corrupting Governments more and taking advantage of personal relationships. Hint: It is not Microsoft.
      Ram U
      • there a difference between gross and efficient spending

        Anyone lobbying the president clearly doesn't understand the legislative process.

        MSFT may have bought their congress people years ago and now only require maintenance payments. Google is having to buy them up new.
      • Re: Who is corrupting governments more..

        Answer: both try hard.
  • Not to worry,

    Samsung is fading due to their over the top customer support. Since they are soooo good and keeping customers after the sale.

    Yes, we all bought a great phone...then were quickly forgotten by Samsung. My current Note has all the hardware needed, but isn't getting updated to JB. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 I bought is also sadly forgotten now by Sammy.

    I have now decided it's Samsung? Samsung who?
    • With Samsung

      With Samsung it doesn't even matter they have so screwed up the front end of Android and actually made a bunch of stuff much harder to use.

      I hate to say it but, if I cannot find a decent battery case for the Droid DNA, my disdain for Samsung might actually push me to an iPhone 5!
    • Another ignorant post about no upgrades

      Because it is the carrier, not the manufacturer that is responsible for no upgrades in the O/S.
      You see, since you already bought the phone from whatever carrier, you aren't worth their time. OTOH, if they knew what you were posting here, they might be ignoring you on general principles...
      • Funny Apple can do upgrades

        regardless of the carrier. Shouldn't the "open" Android be able to do that too?
        • Apple upgrades

          Yeah, the carrier checks to make sure it is free of bugs on Android. At least when we do get upgrades, it doesn't cause overages like the last Apple one. My coworker just traded in his iphone 4s for a galaxy S3 bbecause of it.
    • Upgrades to Android

      Lots of non carrier/unbranded Android versions are available for almost every Samsung device. My old Galaxy S Epic 4G (FIRST GEN GALAXY) is running 4.2.2 Android courtesy of CyanogenMod. Other choices are available with a simlle search on Google.
  • Simple Reason...

    Most of the other Android phones fall into one of two categories.

    a) Low end cheap phones with out-dated versions of Android OS.

    b) High end phones with great screens and processors. 1080p. Etc. But only 16GB of internal memory and no expansion slots.

    Seriously, this latter is a DEAL BREAKER for most. And this is why beautiful phones by HTC, LG, and other sit on the shelves.

    Oh, and then we have Windows 8 phone. Okay, try to get the Nokia 920....not available, exclusive to AT&T. That was super dumb. You do NOT make a phone exclusive to one carrier when trying to break into a crowded market.

    So those who want a Windows 8 phone have no top tier phone option outside of AT&T. Only a mid-range phone.

    These are CEO mistakes, ...
    • These are CEO mistakes.

      they should all have expandable memory. It is one of the reasons I may drop my lumia 920 next year. I think it is a philosophical fight against piracy that is just stupid. they CEO's cannot see a legit use case for greater than 16GB of data and if you need more then use a cloud drive. This is fine if there are no bandwidth caps but there are.

      Local storage will always be required till the bandwidth is uncapped and LTE(or greater) are standard.
      • Re: drop the lumia 920

        Instead of dropping the poor little Tamagotchi, why not donate it to an Microsoft fan? You will make a human being happy, at least! And get rid of the thing, of course.

        Good luck with a better phone with removable storage next year.
    • this is how Apple started with iPhones

      and that was not a mistake, was it?
    • WP8

      "So those who want a Windows 8 phone have no top tier phone option outside of AT&T. Only a mid-range phone. "

      That's assuming people want a WP8 phone. Judging by the delining share, I'd say nobody wants it.