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The Google Nexus backlash

Giving a new market entrant a few weeks or months to get the bugs out of its business strategy is a natural thing, unless that company is Google, in which case all bets are off.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

There is no longer any doubt that the power of Google has created a countervailing anti-Google backlash. (What does Rutger Hauer playing something that hasn't been invented yet have to do with a cell phone? Read on.)

Just look at the growing kerfluffle over the Nexus One. The backlash took less than a weekend to get going.

  1. There are charges of poor customer support.
  2. Some early reviews call it drab. Sam Diaz says it's not perfect.
  3. The new phone lacks a software development kit. Didn't Microsoft get in trouble for hiding its latest features from its ecosystem?
  4. The Nexus One contains $174 in parts, meaning Google's profit on it is bigger than Apple's on the iPhone.
  5. Google is accused of taking over its own ecosystem, in the way Microsoft did a generation ago.
  6. Speculation has already moved to Google's next move, an enterprise version.
  7. The family of the late scifi author Philip K. Dick plans to sue over the Nexus name. The renegade androids in his story that became Blade Runner are called Nexus-6. (Hauer played the leader of Nexus-6 replicants in the movie version of Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.)

So let's see. Google did not instantly replicate Apple's channel, it didn't deliver every document a software write would want immediately, the new phone may just be a Version 1.0 of Google's plans, its employees like good science fiction, and (gasp) it's trying to turn a profit.

I'm shocked, shocked that gambling is going on here. Whom the Gods make mad they first make famous. Not to mention rich and powerful.

We're all accustomed to instant gratification from Google, but there's a difference between delivering a search engine result and a consumer product.

A consumer product has lots of moving parts, many of which are not in the box. Marketing, trademarks, copyright, sales channels. And then, with phones, you have the fact that without a network to run on a cell phone is just a door stop.

It's going to take Google time to get all this right, and I personally wonder whether Andy Rubin, who gave Microsoft the unscaled Danger, is the person who can get all this right.

But I'm willing to wait for the dust to settle. Most people aren't. And that's because of the unrealistic expectations that Google's success in search set for its entry into consumer electronics.

Fact is these are different markets. There is a learning curve involved here. Giving a new market entrant a few weeks or months to get the bugs out of its business strategy is a natural thing, unless that company is Google, in which case all bets are off.

My view is that Google has gone an extraordinary distance with Android in an amazingly short time frame. Symbian and Microsoft are being systematically blown out of the water, Palm is reeling, Apple is on its heels, and hardly anyone has a phone yet, let alone market share.

Chill.

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