[That's it just gone midday here in the UK so it's time to be clear: If you hadn't already guessed, this was our April Fools story!]
Silicon Valley is in shock this morning with the news that Google has quit the mobile industry. The dramatic move comes at a time when questions have been asked about the company’s long term strategy.
Many analysts and observers openly questioned the logic of Google’s recent purchase of Motorola, causing the company’s board to do some serious soul searching.
Today’s news represents the culmination of those deliberations. And you know what? Whether you agree with it or not, you have to admit, it’s ballsy.
Android’s new owners, Microsoft and Nokia, each paid $44.1 billion to take control of the world’s most populous smartphone operating system.
Ballmer was on stage this morning with Elop explaining the deal and both flatly refused to rule-out a Windows Phone upgrade path all Android devices running 2.3+ of the OS. If Microsoft was able to do this, they’d move Windows Phone into second or third in the marketplace very quickly.
Interestingly, Nokia’s Stephen Elop, speaking to journalists after the announcement confirmed that MeeGo device owners will shortly be able to triple-boot their phones between MeeGo, Android and Windows Phone (with Windows being the default option).
In terms of brand name choices, both executives wouldn’t be drawn on speculation that Android will be renamed “Android for Windows Phone”. If that happens, I think there will be a lot of frustrated Android fans!
There’s no word from Android’s major players such as Samsung or HTC. One would imagine they’re currently in panic mode, wondering just how to respond to the news. Will the next Samsung Galaxy IV be running Android for Windows?
Google’s management justified today’s news by explaining that they’ve achieved their goal: Disruption. Now that the market has been truly distorted beyond how it looked back in 2008, it’s time for Google to stick to the knitting — and as we all know, that is advertising.
“Google will remain a friend of every operating system,” noted the company’s CEO, Sergey Brin, “With Microsoft and Nokia now running Android, we think we’ve found a great new owner — and we will of course still be working with them on-going and every other major OS.”
Motorola is apparently part of the transaction and it’s understood that they will be controlled and operated by Nokia given the company’s long experience with hardware. Expect Motorola to become more of a brand name rather than an actual independent manufacturer though.
Buying Android was a smart move for both companies. Nokia catapults itself back into the top flight smartphone arena without waiting for Windows Phone to have to grow organically. Equally, the move cements Microsoft’s participation the market — the company’s Windows Phone position was looking a little bit limited compared to the gains being made by the likes of iOS and Android.
I think it’s fair to say that with Microsoft and Nokia driving Android hard, we should see some fantastic innovations from them soon.