back to article Google to mobile industry: ‘F*ck you very much!’

It is characteristic of Google’s approach to relationships, one senior phone exec told me this week: "They don’t know what hurt they’re doing, and they don’t care." It’s nothing personal, guys. Today, some of the biggest tech companies in the world, who thought they were Google’s closest partners, will begin to understand how …


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  1. George 24

    Google, the new M$

    Nothing surprising here. Google has worked hard at establishing itself as a superpower and has for a long time placed profit above anything else. I think they are winning the battle against M$ for the biggest mongrel award.

    1. Jim 64

      Not really. And besides.

      If they are, then they'll go the same way M$ did. Backlash over rip off opening door for competition. However, I do not think they're that stupid. And as far as I can see, I still get all my google func for free. And on top of that, I don't see Apple playing v nicely!.........

      As far as I'm concerned, APPLE are the new M$ and Google are doing us all a big favour - AGAIN. Could there be consequences? Yes. Could there be consequences if Apple become too dominant. YES! So, let's play. I'll take a Google phone as soon as the early adopter tards have beta-tested it for me, whined and got the price of the superior 2nd gen much lower. Great.

      All those idiot Apple fanboys that got the gen1 Iphone were sooooooo stupid! They got bent over and best of all it was the wrong horse that did it. Now they're just upset that their glee in being part of the club is under threat. And obviously a lot of people are literally being paid (by the status quo) to dislike the google phone. Sadly for them, most of us don't work for the existing rip-off merchants and plenty of people would be v happy to see Apple put in its place.

      If google oversteps, one day it'll happen to them too. Until then, free is fine with me. The rest of us don't need to suffer because the fanbois bet on the wrong horse. I welcome all competition that actually drives progress in performance/value. Seems like a big jump in value to me.

  2. Smelly Socks

    google's approach

    > "They don’t know what hurt they’re doing, and they don’t care."

    please excuse me while i cry a river for the mobile phone industry.


    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      No kidding....

      There was a recent post in another forum asking "are there any decent cellphone companies?" and the answer was "Nope. Sorry."

      Google *CAN'T* make it any worse (it's to the point I no longer have a mobile) and I'm hoping they'll bring some sort of shakeup to the industry. I've already been screwed by T-Mobile, so I'm kind of forced to pass on the Gee-phone.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I'm convinced

    After your succint summing up in this article of Google's attitude to the net (and the world).

    I have access to a pitchfork and can probably make a fair flaming torch if needed. Now we just need to get together and figuratively drive the beast to the windmill and burn its black heart out.

    Of course, if anyone knows any 21st century IT based alternatives to agricultural implements and carbon-based light sources I'll use them.

    1. /dev/me

      Hmmmm, alternatives?

      But there is no substitute for fire.

  4. Gideon 1
    Dead Vulture


    Nokia and Maemo? Duh!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Eh? Oh, right.

      I just read that as a follow on to the previous post and had a rather surreal moment.

      1. I didn't do IT.

        Nokia as a fire substitute...

        Actually, due to battery issues, I think the Nokia would be a fair substitute, if a little unpredictable as to WHEN it might go off. Best charge overnight on a train, to be sure. :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    a title is required

    1a) It's not cool to use "autistic" as an insult.

    1b) And in any case, it doesn't even make sense in the context - your argument is that Google is duplicitous and manipulative in its commercial relationships, and misleads its partners while advancing its own interests. On the other hand you (and your thankfully-for-them anonymous souce) are evoking a stereotype of autistic people as being incapable of understanding counterparties' behaviour and likely reaction (which is really but one characteristic of ASDs) but in order to successfully manipulate people, you have to be highly sensitive to their behaviour, emotions etc...meaning the word you - err, I mean, your cough>industry source<cough were probably trying to grasp for was "sociopathic".


    "Nokia talks about ‘democratising’ the smartphone, simply because it’s own models are cheaper".

    A highly questionable comma and a totally redundant apostrophe. Tchoh.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: a title is required


      a) it's a quote that isn't intended as an insult, if you take offence that's up to you.

      b) to manipulate people successfully, you don't need to be highly sensitive to their emotions. Or even slightly sensitive. Being backed by a large army or lots of money is sufficient.

      But thanks for sharing anyway.

      1. Danny 14

        not really

        you're taking the piss out of autistic people. Sure it might be ok to insult people on dar intarwebs but hey, doesnt stop you being a jerk about it.

        WTF does a large army have to do with a googlephone?

        1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

          I have an ASD...

          .... and I approve Orlowski's article.

          For the terminally illiterate, here's why: He explicitly states that he's *QUOTING SOMEONE ELSE*. If you change the text of a quote, you're no longer quoting!

          Unlike some people on the internet (and in real life), I don't expect absolutely everyone on Earth to be an expert on every subject known to science. Expect ignorance and you'll have an easier, less stressful day.

          Wilful ignorance, on the other hand, I can't stand, so I have no quarrel with people pointing out mistakes; there's a big difference between expecting ignorance and demanding it.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I usually have the the utmost respect for Reg hacks even if I don't always agree with their opinions. But you, Andrew, should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

        And Sarah Bee should join you for allowing such bigoted and offensive responses to be posted. If, on the other hand, she is forced to accept all effluent that spews forth from co-workers, then I hope she accepts my humble apologies.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Autistic is more a compliment than a insult, dont start perverting it you twisted jorno's :(

    4. Tom 11


      "A highly questionable comma and a totally redundant apostrophe. Tchoh."

      I'd like to highlight your previous entry;

      "1b) And in any case, it doesn't even make sense...."

      You're hardly one to talk, Mr. 'Jonny-come-lately' with the superfluous 'And' at the start of your bullet point.

    5. Doug Glass


      "Autism is a disorder of neural development that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior."

      If that doesn't sound like Google then I guess I'm one of the deluded.

      Look it up dude. Besides that, the author clearly states this is a quote from another individual. Wow, talk about shooting the messenger.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Cry more, noob

    Seems to me that if you get to use Android free of charge to make shiny, attractive phones with vastly better software than the Nokias of this world, you shouldn't be terribly surprised if other people use the same stuff too.

    If you wanted exclusivity, you might have considered paying for the development of your own platform. The world doesn't owe you a living; it was here first.

    Since S60 phones are starting to suck, and WinMo is a waste of space, Android is a good alternative to Apple's offering. The more manufacturers trying to outdo each other building a better mousetrap based around Google's rodent retention platform, the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What he said...

      A very fair point. Anyone can use Android, so people who do shouldn't complain when others do it better.

      Given it takes two-three years or more to develop a phone platform from scratch, plus time developing the Apps store equivalent, Android is a good option for many handset makers. Its a fast(er) entry in to a probable large market. I'm sure that many are still working on their own platforms, as well as Android, but best to keep all doors open...

  7. Tim J

    " the vast cooling towers..."

    " the vast cooling towers at each end of the Holland or Rotherhithe Tunnels"

    Hmm. And then more hmm.

    (a) These aren't cooling towers - cooling towers exist at power stations - what you're trying to refer to is ventilation 'towers' (if, indeed, you must call them towers at all).

    (b) Have you ever been around the Rotherhithe tunnel? The ventilation installations, such as they are, can hardly be described as 'towers'. You're probably trying to refer to the Blackwall tunnel, which does have (sort-of) ventilation towers... but it's too late.

  8. tony72

    Boo hoo

    The current business model of the mobile industry - using free or heavily subsidized handsets as the crack to get people hooked on hideously overpriced contracts - is a horrible, market-distorting abomination. It means you can't actually get a contract at a sensible price, because what you're largely paying for is hire-purchase on a handset. It also means virtually everyone has drawers full of prefectly decent phones due to upgrades they really didn't need, because once that contract's up, it's time for another hit of the crack to keep you hooked.

    So, sorry if you feel the likes of Vodafone have a god-given right to maintain their current business model, but I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy here. If someonce can shake up the market a bit, it's highly unlikely that what results will be worse than what we have now. Although sadly I personally doubt Google's current foray into the mobile business will actually have as much impact as the article implies, but we live in hope.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Problem is

      that all Google have done is make another handset. Anyone can do that (if they have enough cash to ask HTC/Samsung/LG to design and build one). It's the scum bags in charge of the airwaves that need a good shake up, and I am not sure how Google launching a phone can do that.

    2. Lawrence 7


      I dont think the article was trying to imply any sympathy for the ops at all, It was a summing up of the state of play and what each players wants: Thats how I read it.

      What you believe the outcome of this action by google to be is mis-led: They have essentially sucked in a large number of equipment manufacturers + Operators with a solid gold promise of 'hey, look what I got over here, Its the solution to all your development woes, and guess what: Its Free!'

      Alarms bells should have rang then but they didn't, and many companies have bet the farm on Android and sucked in, Playing Google's game, where Google Made the ball, Wrote the Rules, reffed the and decided when and where you would play.

      Then Google begins to decide which players get the power ups first, and which players get to know what is going to happen next, while the rest fight it out catch up style when the ball is finally 'open sourced'

      After which, Google decide that they are not just happy reffing the game, owning the ball and writing the rules, but they want to play as well.

      The effect this has is potentially enormous. Because google now has the ability to control the a large portion of the Mobile industry by deciding who it tells first about future platform alterations, and will more than likely release its own products based on better platforms than it releases to Licensees first.

      God play.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty much spot on

    I do concur with your analysis - the network must become a simple utility just like I don't care where my electricity comes from as long as it does & does so reliably. All these networks trying to "create" value adds are just failing. They just don't get it. I don't need O2/Vodafone/Verizon/whoever to give me their version of the internet just give me all the bits & bytes, fast.

    Sure Apple & RIM are the ones making hay - they're the only two with the end to end solution that makes it easy for Joe Punter, one is a phone + personal media device for the individual and the other is phone + email device for the corporate. I'm sure Google will catch up but the solution has to be the device PLUS a globally valuable service like iTunes and/or the AppStore.

    Google's first, obvious, step to cut loose from the networks is to sell the phone direct - globally. Apple's blazed that trail by initially partnering monogamously then going polygamous. Nokia has foundered with Ovi as a home for the "device".

    I did think Google's backbone was simply a CDN type thing to get their bits and bytes into & ou of localities quicker, take that traffic from the carriers & so attack the net neutrality issue on that basis but maybe I'm drinking too much "Do No Evil" koolaid :-)

    Who's up for the FacebookPhone, there's 200+ million potential customers who don't realise their locked in....

    However, I'm still not forking out £500 for a phone nor will I pay by H.P. from any network.

    1. Steve Gooberman-Hill

      Not surprising really

      The main issue is that the carriers, who started off as technology companies whose focus were on running networks and making money off the traffic on those networks have been steadily moving up the chain, and now concentrate on selling phones and" user experience". To quote one carrier exec "Our core business is selling pay as you go top up cards. Running a network is an overhead".

      The carriers have been steadily outsourcing building and running networks; the network vendors (Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens, Huawei, ALU, Motorola, ZTE) manage a good percentage of networks for the operators. Site and network sharing deals between operators are becoming more common - the hardware is a commodity, and the operators don't really want part of this business; they want to concentrate on selling phones and airtime packages.

      So Google has effectively directly entered the operators market. This is a classic late entry into market with no legacy overheads to support, and a clear idea of the direction the market is moving in.

      Google are doing to the operators what Huawei have done to the vendors.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    One bunch of vicious capitalists feeds off another bunch of vicious capitalists until eventually there's only one bloated company left and we all belong to them. What's new?

  11. edesignuk

    oh reg

    The Registers non-stop bashing of "the chocolate factory" is getting very, very old.

    I like The Register, but almost every article you ever post relating to said factory (Google) is just so negatively biased it's hardly worth reading.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      It's because they are getting away with it

      You may want to take off the rose tinted glasses. They're very fetching, but obviously get in the way of your critical thinking.

      It took over 10 years to convince people that Microsoft did NOT have their interest at heart, and it took several more years before regulators to develop enough balls to ask questions. And it took a person without balls (sorry to drag this out) to finally put an axe into that behaviour, Neelie Kroes..

      There is almost nothing different with Google, it smoothly moved from sympathetic startup through "let's kill everyone else's revenue" to " we want it all", which includes privacy invasions and IP "borrowing" that make any other US company look like rank amateurs, all the will covering their tracks with clever image management. Hell, it makes MS under Bill Gates look benevolent, which takes some doing.

      Which other company would you allow to come in and look at everything you do, and use your property for free? They scan your email, look which sites you visit via ads and Google DNS (which, incidentally, is an *excellent* way to later surreptitiously censor and divert queries), collect pictures of everyone with a model that does not require permission of the subject in question (abusing the 3rd party weakness in the Data Protection laws) - if New Labour wasn't on its way out I would expect these guys to be invited as consultants. In case you didn't realise, every time you use a Google service you allow them to use your Intellectual Property. Sure, you still own it, but Google can use it, for free, into perpetuity - you agreed to their Terms of Service.

      El Reg is one of the few that have the nerve to ask the questions. But I think it will take another 5 years before people start listening if MS is any standard to judge by. Meanwhile, El Reg will be belittled for reporting the bare facts. From the work I do I can see the problems mount already, and especially Google's answers to regulatory questions tell you it is a US company: "we'll do this as long as we can get away with it".

      Andrew, sterling article.

      It will, however, take a while before you can tell people "I told you so"..

    2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Oh, you!

      The non-stop bashing of Satan is getting very, very old.

      Not an attempt to compare Google to Satan, but I cannot buy into this mindset. People have a tendency to tune out criticism, even constructive, if they hear too much of it. And the more people who tune out, the more the critics criticize in an attempt to gain focus on the topic. It is a viscous circle. Instead of flat tuning out, people should take a few moments to investigate for themselves.

      Frankly, irrespective of some of Google's nefarious activities previously unknown to me, the fact that Schmidthead in so many words told me that I only care about privacy because I am trying to hide something is enough for me to tell Google to go f&#k itself. And I think other companies are missing a spectacular opportunity as a result of his comments.

      Paris, a-bashing.

    3. Sean Timarco Baggaley


      The Register bashes *everyone*. It's kind of the point.

      Why do you think they have a vulture's head in their logo and the phrase: "Biting the hand that feeds IT" as their slogan?

      Only in the US do people bow down and worship at the altar of capitalism as if it can do no wrong. The British have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, taken it back for a refund and torn down the slums. We don't even trust our politicians any further than we can kick them, let alone corporations.

      No, we're not paranoid: big business really *is* out to get us. By definition, all businesses want to beat their competition and become the #1 player in their chosen market. All businesses want to become a monopoly. That's why every Western nation has anti-monopoly laws. Even in the USA.

      I've personally seen IBM go from "nice" to "bad" and back to "nice" again. Atari once lorded it over the video games industry, but they fell apart rapidly in the '90s and only the brand, used by a French videogames publisher, remains. Microsoft was once the darling of the business world. As they grew and Gates' spectacular wealth became widely known, they were increasingly regarded as "Most Evil"—nobody had a nice thing to say about the company. Today, they've lost that badge and are merely "evil" again; Google has the "Most Evil" badge now.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Capitalism is like a hammer

        You can kill with a hammer, but you can build a house with it.

        Like a hammer, Capitalism is only as evil, or as good, as those who wield it. The common thread to the "nice" companies going "bad," or dead for that matter, is that they chose the Dark Side of Capitalism -- they chose to rape the customer for quick profit. I learned a long time ago that I can be successful and even wealthy by not screwing my customers, not squeezing them for every penny I can. I will not be stinking rich, but I will be comfortable, and my life and the lives of my family members will be taken care of.

        I reject the notion that Capitalism should be done away with because of the evil done with it. Instead, I accept that we should punish those who wield it poorly and unwisely. This requires active economic participation which, unfortunately, is rare. There are those who hate WalMart for its employee treatment practices or how it treats its vendors, and yet they buy from WalMart because of the convenience. Many people despise Disney for supporting the broadcast flag, and yet buy every Disney DVD as it comes out. So and and so forth.

        So, really, people need to put up or shut up. That is the way to fix Capitalism, an economic system which builds wealth for the entire world.

        Paris, put out or shut out.

        1. ed2020

          Re: Capitalism is like a hammer

          "an economic system which builds wealth for the entire world."

          I was with you right up until this ridiculous statement, at which point I had to conclude that you must be an idiot if you actually believe this is true.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. heyrick Silver badge
      Big Brother

      The "chocolate factory"?

      I don't get the title, but nevermind...

      Anyway, to put it bluntly, we're on a mission. We're on a mission to screw Google before Google screws us.

      You see, there will be many comparisons between Google and Microsoft, and while it may seem fair comparison, Microsoft's business practice was only really an issue for those using Microsoft products and/or PCs. For most of the '90s I can thank Microsoft for making big harddiscs real cheap - to use on my old RISC OS machine.

      Given the various legal actions, Microsoft didn't play the game nicely and they were brought to task for that. Some jurisdictions didn't have the balls to do much more than a token fine, but this is not really relevant as the practise is in the open and people know about it. At a deep subconscious level, this may drive business decisions to use alternative platforms, even if they aren't as pointy-clicky to administer.

      Google, on the other hand, is not interested in crappy restricted licences and stomping on box shifters that don't like to play their game. No, they want their fingers in every pie. From a good idea of a search engine, to custom advertising to DNS services, it all looks fairly useful on the outside. But inside, it is a massive data collection service. They want to know everything about everybody, piss all over privacy and copyright laws (them giving themselves full permissions over your IP because their Ts&Cs says so, is that even legal?), and - here's the crunch - it isn't done to monitor the world, it isn't done because they're data freaks like the Mormons. It isn't even done because they are paranoid-as-hell like NuLabour. It is done, purely and simply, to sell to the highest bidder. Do WE have a say in this? Like hell. Do we even get to see what data they have amassed? I don't believe they give a toss about the DPA. Is there an arbitration/correction service for data that is just invalid? What if somebody, as a prank, goes to your computer and looks for... oh, I dunno... "catholic schoolgirl upskirt" and switches Google into piccies mode with sanity-filtering turned off. No doubt you'll get what was asked for, and Google will be able to tick a bunch of flags in their records of you, either by email address or IP address or both (can a remote site read a machine's MAC address?), you know, like "this dude's a pervert", YOU try explaining that away if it comes up in a reference on you flogged by GoogleCorp twenty years in the future.

      Microsoft was a danger, but it was a limited danger. It wasn't really until XP and a third-hand computer that I really even gave a crap about Microsoft.

      Google is a danger, but it is setting itself up as a pervasive danger while spouting the mantra "Do No Evil" as a reassurance to the weak-minded. Any number of articles and comments on El Reg carry a negative tone because, frankly, you want to stab yourself with a plastic spork just to be sure you aren't dreaming. They did WHAT and NOBODY is making a fuss? If it was a normal company there'd be lawyers and anti-trust suits and all sorts. But it's the Internet. Time and again governments and companies and Joe Public really doesn't have a clue what to do about the Internet - from MPs on TV saying "It's shocking, the Internet should be policed" to Bono saying something that I won't even give him the grace of quoting, to Italy considering that according to some obscure law the very concept may be illegal. Nobody knows how the hell to deal with it...

      ...except Google.

      Some sites, Twitter for example, are doing quite well. But it's because it is the "in" thing (or we like antagonising Stephen Fry, you decide). When something better comes along, Twitter will flounder. TimeWarner-AOL was a marriage made in heaven that went tits up. Media moguls are trying desperately to pervert justice with shite like Hadopi because it's the only concept their pathetic little minds can handle. Embracing the Internet and what it has to offer doesn't make sense to them. Maybe they should talk to Red Hat who have run as a viable business selling a *free* product. But no, its too much of a paradigm shift.

      But one company has it sussed. And off the back of the misunderstandings and general cluelessness, they are going to bend and buckle the thing until they see themselves and Lord And Master. And if we don't watch it, they will have manipulated themselves into exactly that position and we will be screwed... for all the open source and cool toys and gadgets probably aren't sufficient trade-off for the invasion of any pretence at privacy we have.

      Enter the supposed Google laptop. It sounds nifty. It sounds awesome. As a geek, ARM. Whoo! But there's a darker side. With analytics and such your browsing history is only partly monitored, and with NoScript and such you can block a lot of this tracing. Google, for example, does not know my address, for I have not ever made it available. Through corrections I have made to their mapping service (evidently ignored, I might add...), they could take a guess as to my location and perhaps be correct to within 20-odd miles. But that's a lot of space. For everybody else, you'll get as far as I'm in Brittany. You might narrow it down to the lower-right part. But that' a lot of space. Enter the GoogleBook (or whatever they plan to call the thing). No more need for analytics, they'll be able to tell every page, how long you're there, whether you bother to scroll... an absolute goldmine of floggable data. Those SEO types would give their lives for that sort of information. Oh, and this same machine by this information obsessed company can no doubt be used for online banking, buying stuff off eBay or Amazon... Hell, there will probably be BitTorrent clients released "as a public service" all dutifuly recording every activity. Are alarm bells ringing in your head yet?

      Sure. I know. There's a lot of conjecture here, and some stuff plain made up. But take off the rose-tinted glasses and ask yourself "how believable is it?". I believe *all* of the above will not only be possible, but stands to be in implementation within a year or two. THAT is why people who ask questions are starting to ask questions about Google. For on the face of it Google hasn't really done anything terribly bad, other than show gross disregard for other people's privacy and property - but on the Internet anything goes, right? The problem, and some of the little warnings El Reg puts out, are because Google is manouvring itself in the background. To put them in a good position to one day say "Check..... and Mate".

      Tell me you can't see this coming?

      No? Think I'm a conspiracy theorist nutjob? Go read some of the archives. Then, repeat, tell me you can't see this coming?

      1. Quirkafleeg

        Can a remote site read a machine's MAC address?

        It can't read what isn't there…

  12. iamapizza
    Thumb Down

    Change is good

    When you say that Google is shafting or hurting X, you're assuming that this X is pure, divine and full of virtues. Not true. Without this sudden shake up of the mobile industry, it would stagnate and it's us, the USERS who get shafted; not that we're full of virtues, but to us, we're more important than the money that large corporations make.

    1. Bassey


      Why do you have to be virtuous to get shafted? Please explain? That makes no sense to me at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What do you mean "Why?"?

        Prostitutes get shafted more than anyone, and they're not called virtue-girls for nothing!*

        * "Honey, you're the customer, you can call me anything you like!"

  13. handle

    Rotherhithe tunnel

    If you're talking about "cooling towers", I think you mean the Blackwall Tunnel. And they're ventilation, not cooling towers. They are not power stations.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The only reason I went for an N97 rather than a "google phone" was because the real google phone didn't actually exist. For some reason I really like the idea of a totally google made phone an HTC with a different operating system is a hash up and sucks monkey balls and T-Mobile calling it the Google phone was just misleading.

  15. Tin Pot
    Thumb Down

    So what?

    Google produces it's own what?

  16. Linbox

    The fuel of civilization

    Google have found a way to make cheaper mobile phones, putting existing suppliers out of business. Supermarkets found a cheaper way of delivering milk, putting milkmen out of business. DFS found a cheaper way of making sofas, putting furniture craftsmen out of business. Makers of spinning machines put hand weavers and spinners out of business. Neolithic cattle farmers put mammoth hunters out of business.

    And yet society has gotten wealthier...

    PS : I used to live half a mile from the Hoboken entrance to the Holland Tunnel and I can tell you categorically that the 'Ventilation Building' is not called a cooling tower. Not by anybody. Ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, here

      the gap between rich and poor has increased. That's the way in which society has got wealthier. The big boys push to the front and take all they can. Craftsmen driven out of business by sellers of cheap tat is not an increase in wealth except to the demographic that doesn't care about quality or doesn't understand what it means. Meanwhile supermarkets are driving the farmers who produce the milk out of business by paying too little. The argument for doing fuck all is not an honourable one.

  17. gjw
    Jobs Horns

    Think how Nokia would have felt...

    If they would have chosen to develop some Android devices, and side track Maemo for it. Perhaps the Finns understood what they are dealing with, when it comes to Google.

    Evil S. the posterboy for Merikan post empire imperialism.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Would have

      ITYM "Think how Nokia would have felt if they *had* chosen..."

      1. gjw


        Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

        Did I? Why?

    2. Martyn Welch

      Re: Think how Nokia would have felt...

      "If they would have chosen to develop some Android devices, and side track Maemo for it."

      Um, may be something along the lines of "wasn't it a great idea to make some of those, we made quite a bit of profit without needing to develop the whole OS on it ourselves"?

      1. gjw
        Jobs Horns


        That's short term. That's the Google way of doing handset business.

        In the long run it would probably have been a disaster for Nokia, the company that sells more smart phones than its two nearest competitors combined. For a start they would have lost face right now (just like Motorola and Samsung did). And apart from that they have come a long way with Maemo. Giving up that position would only strengthen Google, a 'partner' that has now proven to be very unreliable.

        It won't be forgotten, I am sure.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Mr. Mackey would say:

    "Google are bad, mmm-kay'.

    The sooner we all deal with this non-revelation and move on, the better.

    The likes of Google, M$, Apple et al are the same as children. They'll do what they want until they can't get away with it any more.

    Always have, always will I'm sorry to say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes but...

      ...history only repeats itself in certain ways. We are also continually moving into the unknown that all of the serious powers are attempting to take the dominant position in. The second part of that statement is an example of the sense in which history repeats itself; that is where it applies to ethics. Seriously examine history, through all ages - though you only really need to look at recent history (say, from the middle ages to the twentieth century) - and you will see that the children running the likes of Google, M$ et al are all like Cartman.

      Not a comparison, but the example to end all examples of what is wrong with that laissez faire approach: the Nazis committed mass murder until they couldn't get away with it any more. Being stopped didn't make what they did get away with trivial. That wasn't even 100 years ago; there are still plenty still living who were alive then. And there is plenty of evil still being done in the world _now_ including by the USA and the UK.

      The way most people approach this kind of stuff, almost militantly doing nothing about it, is like unconsciously yearning for oblivion; like saying just below the threshhold of their awareness "who cares _what_ they do? I just want to sleep forever!" Like ol' Joey Pants in The Matrix.

  19. Mark 65


    I don't think the network operators are going to be disappearing anytime soon or, indeed. will be powerless little inconveniences as Google would like. It's their network, they're are likely to start merging when margins get tight and, rich though Google are, they might find you still need access to that mobile spectrum before you get to Google's ponced up playpen.

  20. clive howard
    Dead Vulture

    A bit over-emotional perhaps?

    Very few of the mobile operators' customers, with nearly two decades' experience of their control-freakery and efforts to prevent us exercising, will feel sympathy for them on this relatively rare occasion when the tables are turned. "Walled Gardens", phones locked to specific operators, price plans designed to confuse the consumer, reaming us with roaming charges....

    On the other hand, the opening premise of the article that Google is not the saintly saviour of the downtrodden consumer out of the goodness of its heart is a valid observation. They are a business like any other, to be admired - as is, say, Virgin - for their propensity to shake up other firms' business model to the ultimate advantage of the consumer. Creative Destruction is a cornerstone of effective markets and we woudl all be poorer without it. However, the evidence becomes more compelling that Google are duplicitious and scary to do business with. They have managed to create the illusion that everything is totally free. The idea that anything is "free" with no price ever having to be paid anywhere ever is a chimera that can fool typical consumers. So, anybody who competes with Google has an obligation to prove this is an illusion. That they fail to justify their own relative value is their failing, not Google's. The mobile operators, who for years have run the same "it's free" stunt with their handsets, really ought to know better.

    My big problem with this article was that is showed a level of emotion that I found unusual from you, and not enjoyable. I enjoy el Reg's willingness to state its strongly help opionions in its articles, they are always clearly signposted as opinions and not dressed up as fact. This article has a sulphurous odour of bias about it. Shame on you, el Reg, well below your usual standards.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: A bit over-emotional perhaps?

      "My big problem with this article was that is showed a level of emotion that I found unusual from you, and not enjoyable. I enjoy el Reg's willingness to state its strongly help opionions in its articles, they are always clearly signposted as opinions and not dressed up as fact. This article has a sulphurous odour of bias about it."

      Don't you love the sulphorous odour of bias in the morning?

      Just one problem with your considered response - the emotions are not mine, but those of people who thought Google was their friend two weeks ago.

      That's significant enough to report.

  21. Law

    for once, I disagree Mr O!

    These are all big corps, moto, s.e, and the networks have spent years shafting anybody smaller than them - and now, google are treading slightly on their toes. The fact is that google like all big businesses are there to make money, by any means. Do no evil isn't a legally binding contract between them and the world - if you write the article on the assumption that these other companies are somehow friends with google and got in to bed with them because they "do no evil" then those companies should go bust, as they made very naive choices at the cost of profits...

    The way I see it, any manufacturer that is bringing out android phones will benefit from a central app store without having to fully maintain a big os - they also get to take advantage of shorter dev times for building new phones - if they were really worried about google competing with them then they could have written their own os, they could have chosen to use symbian, they have a number of options - this is the option they chose, and I doubt these guys didn't expect this.

    Bringing out a google branded phone which has slightly higher specs, a decent price, and that runs vanilla android isn't shafting the market, it's enriching it. These manufacturers like S.E, HTC and Motorola all have been extending android to gain an advantage over each other and seperate their phones, networks are locking out the appstores in some cases and trying to make their own up - doing this they've also been fragmenting android and confusing punters - so if you think it's a one way street of google shafting manufacturers and networks, this really isn't the case.

    Just my point of view...

    disclaimer: have a very noisy baby in the background, so spelling, train of thought, and ability to form sentences may have been impared, apologies if this was all just a brain fart post! :)

  22. Gerard Krupa

    Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone

    I suggest you do a quick news search on the number of stories containing the phrase ‘Google superphone’

    Did Google ever call it that or was it journalists over-egging or doing a straw man act so they could then cry conspiracy and outrage at Google taking over the mobile hardware world? I notice you omit HTC in the list of Google's partners yet conveniently forget to mention that it is they, traditionally Google's closest Android partner who actually manufacture this phone and not Google themselves. Maybe you could credit people with enough intelligence that they're willing to buy a phone based on its technical merits as much as the logo attached to it.

    And in what way exactly are they shafting networks? Were any of the press and blogosphere predictions that the Nexus One would be targetted to run only with Wifi and VoIP instead of a GSM network even remotely true? No. The phone's initial release is again with one of its traditional partners - T-Mobile. Sure it's sold exlusively from Google's own web site and they are selling it unlocked for use with any GSM SIM which is relatively unusual for the US but they are also selling it operator-subsidised with a network contract from a major network under terms that are pretty much business-as-usual including a 2-year contract lock-in. They're also rumoured to be working on similar agreements with Verizon and Vodafone. Hell, did you even try to look for any actual facts before you started on this rhetoric?

    Mr Orlowski, it's not really joining the dots when you're drawing all the dots yourself.

    1. Rob
      Black Helicopters

      Well said

      Prehaps it's not Google we should be worrying about but HTC instead. Nexus One is made by HTC so will be using standard components as they do in most of their phones, so at some point you will see a bedroom hacker annouce that WinMo can be installed on this phone just as some poeple have already got Android installed on some HTC WinMo phones.

      All you need now for complete dominance is for HTC to build an iPhone and you've got the potential for 3 different OS's to be installed on a phone.

      On a slightly seperate note, I too have no sympathy for the networks, but the overall jist of this article for me was that Google are increasingly becoming more of a distrustful company and unfortunately they have most of the keys already to our data kingdoms.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone

      “I suggest you do a quick news search on the number of stories containing the phrase ‘Google superphone”

      Google News at 16:00 GMT:

      “View all 4,240 news articles “

      That’ll be a pint of Foaming Fanbois, please.

      “Hell, did you even try to look for any actual facts before you started on this rhetoric?”

      Not my rhetoric, but a fair reflection of various parts of the industry. Interesting to see which nerves this touched – in your case, a few million.

      1. Gerard Krupa
        Dead Vulture

        Re: Did anyone at Google call this the Google superphone

        Thanks for helping to make my point with your glib assumption that I was implying nobody used the term "Superphone". Maybe it came out of a Google press conference or presentation originally but my point is that it's the thousands of eager journos who have blown in up out of all proportion into an unofficial sobriquet for the handset while Google don't appear to use it anywhere on the phone's web site.

        And fanboi? I use a lot of Google services and even pay for some but I'm under no illusion that they're the second coming. I've been screwed over by their lack of customer support for Android and shouted more than enough about it (a simple search of my own Register comments will show that). If you want to decry every one of your ciritics as zealots instead of actually defending your words with evidence that doesn't consist of weasel words and claims of sufficient empathy to know the moods of corporations then you'll soon end up looking like one of the cliched apocalyptic harbingers yelling on a street corner with a badly-scrawled sandwich board.

        You are right about one thing though, you did touch a few nerves. I have nothing against people criticising Google or any other entity with more power than it deserves but I do object to those who undermine valid criticism by publishing poorly-founded attacks based on whatever bile-coated chip is resting on their shoulder.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So the network operators can't make money, the handset makers can't make money, the copy rights holders can't make money etc. because Google "screwed" them?

    Give me a break. How about the consumer? This is called competition; this is called disruptive technologies; this is called progress. The above mentioned "parties" would like to remain fat and lazy and keep ripping off the consumer. Google will make it better for the consumers. That is how the market is supposed to work.

    If Google starts hurting the consumer, we know how to deal with that.

  24. RobDinsmore

    how about some real hurt?

    I would like to see the trend of ridiculously expensive unlocked phones translate into discounted voice/data plans from at least one brave provider. Seriously if these price gouging a_holes "subsidize" phones by requiring a 2 or 3 year commitment, there has to be a good bit of profit to be made by offering a plan alone for a discount.

    1. The Indomitable Gall


      Unfortunately, if they ever offer a plan without a handset at a discounted price, they can no longer claim that the bundled handset is "free".

      That way they fail to sell -- sorry, "give away" -- the latest new device. Not only does that mean lost handset sales -- I mean "giveaways", sorry -- but as the latest phones encourage you to use more data it's a lost opportunity to sell bigger data plans....

      1. Tom 35


        They sell you a bigger data plan then whine that you are using too much data. Tell you that you can't tether your phone, but will sell you a USB stick (with a second data plan) and if you want to use VPN... well that will cost you extra too.

        They "give" you a nice new phone, they even customize it for the "best user experience" (cripple the USB port, remove the GPS maps...) and a year later your still stuck with the buggy 1.0 software because they are giving away a different phone now and can't be assed to customize the new version of the software.

  25. James 5

    One ring...

    .. to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      One ring...

      and I'll call you back!

      1. lpopman

        titular title thingy

        I make a conscious effort to not call back one-rings, they're fecking annoying!

    2. No. Really!?

      Don't you mean...

      One Ringtone to rule them all

  26. Greg Kerr


    Have to say I think it's a good move. It's a nice device and the work done will result in better Android phones.

    As someone else said "cry me a river for the phone companies". Agree totally.

    The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg. Like any other big corporation they do good things and bad things and should always be treated warily. I still think some more balance and perspective would be nice. Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Google

      "The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg....Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!"

      Quite amazing. And creepy.

      Collecting Quotes of the Year for 2010 has started early.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google


        "The Google paranoia is getting a bit out of hand on El Reg....Your business is partly supported by their ads and it's a rare Internet user who doesn't benefit from something they have done!"

        Quite amazing. And creepy.


        Always a good sign that you're losing the argument... start referring to your opponent as "creepy".

        So would you categorically deny that you've never benefitted from any of Google's services whatsoever?

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Google

          A good sign that someone is losing the argument is when they try and change the subject - or question someone's right to put forward a particular point of view. You've done both here.

          Here's a good example of what I mean by creepy:

          "So would you categorically deny that you've never benefitted from any of Google's services whatsoever?"

          The logic is that our corporate overlards, whoever they may be, cannot be questioned if anyone uses their products or services. Try applying this a journalist writing about a drugs company. How's it sound then, Richard?

          (By the way, you need to learn what 'categorically' means and when to use it, and that benefiting has one tee.)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Actually Google knows what they do

    "It’s Google’s autistic approach to relationships," one senior phone exec told me this week. "They don’t know what hurt they’re doing, and they don’t care."

    Actually they know and they do.

    It takes a Russian to understand a Russian even if one who has been a bit muddled by growing up in the USA like Mr Brin.

    The last words of one of the oldest russian proverbs about who is who in the business and trade food chain say literally: "A posrednik gavno". Translated: "And the Middleman is SH*T."

    As far as Google is concerned - SEO, Telco, Mobile, stock brockers, various financial people are all middlemen. Google systematically treats them appropriately (as sh*t). And cares _ONLY_ about the end-user.

    Applause. It is a classic example of using a contrarian approach to success. If a market is dominated by something there is always a chance that the mee-too sheeple tendency has exceeded the actual market force. It is also a long term success approach. Gavno comes and goes, end-users stay. If you piss them off they will run. It may take decades, but sooner or later they will.

    1. Mick Sheppard

      Fixed it for you

      Google only cares about revenue. They don't really care about the end-user. They realise that having a better end-user experience than the other guy will get them more users and therefore more revenue. To imply from that they care about them is going a bit far.

      As an example. Google kept Googlemail in beta for such a long time purely to allow them to be free of any sort of responsibility. "Meh, its a beta service, if you treated it any differently then more fool you".

      Why did Google enter the phone business in the first place? It wasn't out of the goodness of their hearts. It was because they could see people accessing the internet free from their advertising. As people's access becomes more mobile, as it undoubtedly will, they could see their position disappearing. So they needed so fix a hook in to get their advertising onto this new, mobile internet.

      None of the previous Android phones have delivered, and some were already starting to generate bad press (the lack of an upgrade path for Samsung phones for example). So Google has been forced into making this move. This isn't something that Google wanted to do. They know the dangers. Don't think they did it because of the end-user though, it was entirely out of self-interest.

  28. Hermes Conran

    Orlowski allowing comments!!!!

    And getting a severe kicking from the 'tards I see. Must disagree with most of what you've written here Andrew. No Lumpa fan I but just because they've collaborated with a manufacturer to compete in the hardware market doesn't mean they're shafting the carriers. In fact by opening up routes past the cartels you could argue they're doing good while trying to turn an honest buck. Superphone? it's just marketing hype but at least consumers can get it without signing away their freedom for a couple of years.

  29. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Android = "Linux"

    Google have to release all their "advantage" under the GPL. If they try shafting the freetards then they'll soon find Android clone forks popping up all over the place, and a sudden enthusiasm for LIMO. And then Google has a new problem - trying to innovate as fast as the freetards.

    What everyone seems to also have forgotten in these phone discussions is the 800Lb gorilla in the corner of the room - Intel. Intel are showing a serious desire to get deeper into the PDA and smart device market, and they have always had a very capable code-writing team (Intel have done plenty of Linux work). I wouldn't be surprised to see Intel putting some investment in LIMO's direction if Android starts boosting non-Intel CPU sales.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    My brand is bigger than yours?

    I still don't get the piont? How does did in anyway screw over Sony or Motorola or any other phone maker? My brand is bigger than yours! Though luck!

    One of the ways to compete with (kinda) "open source" products is brand name. Something Google clearly understands what's the big deal here?

    As long as Andriod remains quasi "open source" and avialble to others no problems, right?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Wake up -- the mobile networks have been screwing us for years! And now that someone finally fights back you whine?

    Its about time someone got revenge. Thanks, Google.

  32. Stef 2

    As I sit here with my Nexus One

    My heart bleeds, it really does, for Big Telecom and Big Media.


  33. GreyCells
    Thumb Up


    The mobile manufacturer/network combination has been shafting it's customers for years - good to see them getting a taste of what they've been dishing out.

  34. Drefsab


    I really like the current method, google's phone isnt made by google, and using it it isn't using googles GSM network. Instead they are just selling a phone they feel shows off their OS properly and they decide what happen's with it instead of operators. Any operator wanting to sell this phone can they ether just buy the same handset from HTC or just sell it via google.

    I see googles point look at samsung who arnt letting their andriod using customers update the version? or where the operator tweaks and changes make the andriod system look bad. At least this way google have a way of saying look this is how it could run. If people like it and buy it the good on em its about time mobile operators stopped crippling their handsets.

    Not just that but Im sick of wanting to get a specific phone handset only to find its only carried by one mobile phone company, look at the iphone originally people who didnt want/like or have a bad history with O2 or AT&T didn't have a choice. You could buy it sim free but so many features didn't work or the tariff wasn't right etc. If handset/OS makers could actually say fine buy the phone's from us direct and any network that wants to sell it to their customers can through us. This would mean more customer choice and greater competition in the market. Bad handset's are then just bad its nothing to do with the network.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      unlocking phones

      Phones aren't allowed to be blocked from use on other networks in th EU. Operators do do it, but if you go in a store they will unlock them (for a fee). Even the iPhone will apparently allow you to unlock it for use on other networks.

      Where mobile phone operators are screwing us is in contract lock in (I remember when you could get 6 month contracts) on phone subsidised contracts.

      I feel bad for Motorolla, Sony, etc.. but there are other platforms out there (like Symbian)

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Unlocking phones

        I don't know about other EU countries, but in France you are entitled to have your phone unlocked after six months. Probably a bit useless if you're locked to a 12 month survey, but nevermind...

        You are also entitled to some sort of code number that will permit your phone number to be assigned to a different operator. It doesn't always work, but usually it does.

        Oh, and these are legal provisions. You don't need to pay. So when your contract expires, you can take your phone and your number and go to somebody else who will charge you the same amount of money for the same service (hoho - we appear to have three carriers: orange, sfr, and boygues - all of which are clones; every other service is a virtual reseller, i.e. "Virgin mobile" resells orange, as does "Breizh Telecom"...).

        Many supermarkets have started selling their own service (most of which!) so there are messages around explaining what you need and who to contact.

        I believe also (but have no confirmation) that contracts longer than 12 months are not valid, for both mobile phones and ADSL. You can carry on as long as you like, but your maximum obligation is 12 consecutive months. But, as I said, I'll need to go into Willow-mode for that.

  35. Schultz
    Dead Vulture

    Getting shafted

    If an enterprise bites the dust because it tries to hang onto an obsolete business, this is is called "capitalism" or "the market force". Nothing wrong with the shafting of EMI or oversized mobile phone operators then.

    Nothing to see here, move on please ...

  36. ThePhantom
    Gates Horns

    Google - The bastard child of Microsoft

    Google has a hard act to follow - Microsoft did the same when it knifed its partners in the PlaysForSure alliance. Zune didn't support the PlaysForSure DRM and the Zune DRM wasn't open to the PlaysForSure alliance.

    In case you don't know, Microsoft's Zune works only with its own content service called Zune Marketplace, not PlaysForSure. Microsoft announced that as of August 31, 2008, PlaysForSure content from their retired MSN Music store would need to be licensed to play before this date or burned permanently to CD, although this decision was later reversed due to the screaming of both alliance members and fucked-over customers.

    Too bad...

  37. DZ-Jay


    Wow! An open comment section in an article by Mr. Orlowski? I'm stunned! I'm flabbergasted! I'm so shocked, I can't think of anything interesting to say.

    And so, I'll just say that, as other times before, I enjoyed the article and agree with most of your views on the subject. As you, I've seen right-through most of Google's "free puppet show" for the masses, and have strived to understand their machinations; I can't really understand why nobody else is able (or willing) to see them as clearly.



  38. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    google superphone??

    I see nothing wrong with what google is doing. At least they are transparent and openly state all your emails R belong to us and even openly admit giving the feds a free pass to browse through your private docs, emails, etc without any kind of court orders whereas other companies try to avoid the issue (cough Yahoo). As for googles phone, I'll pass, but not because it's googles but rather because I'd rather have something even more open like the nokia n900. Has lighter specs but you can't beat it's OS.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nevertheless, Google is a tad sinister

    They took Firefox's source code and built a browser they're using to try and beat the shit out of Firefox. They took Linux, turned it into Android (and later, Chrome OS) and are using it to beat the shit out of the desktop and mobile Linux distros. And then there's the business of them stealing and trying to profit from other peoples' creations (case in point: EMI and also all the deeply wrong orphan works crap).

    All in all, Google make Microsoft and Apple look pretty saintly. Hell, they make Blackwater and Haliburton look pretty saintly.

    Fortunately, I don't think its a home run for Google. Most people still treat Nokia as their goto supplier for new phones so they do have a finite amount of time to get their act together with a meaningful Smartphone and app delivery strategy (in that respect, perhaps it's time to kill Symbian and Ovi). Likewise, you have a super evil company who wants to take over the world and destroy your computer, OS and phone business? Well, there's an App for that (several of them, in fact).

    1. jubtastic1

      calm down dear

      Actually, chrome is built upon webkit, largely maintained by Apple, and I'm 99.99% sure they're very happy google picked it instead of Firefox's Gecko.

      You can't steal Linux, or any open source code, that's the whole point, anyone can take the code, reuse or extend it and everyone else gets to see the changes* and incorporate them if wanted.

      Google is just another corporation, they have an agenda, sometimes it aligns with we the punters, sometimes against us, you really don't have to use them (yet), if you don't want to though.

      *ish, depends on the licence

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I thought chrome was based on webkit, not mozilla?

      Also, I thought Linux was an open affair, with each distro standing on its own two legs - how is it "beating the other distros over the head"? Personally, I'd love to see a slick linux desktop that is ready for the prime time - ubuntu was a good step forward, but still needs work.

      And about orphan works... meh, they're orphan so who is to lose out on the money? Personally I'm glad that someone is giving them a fresh breath of life.

      No, my problem with Google is how opaque they are... if they were perfectly open about what they do with all of your data, then I'd be willing to trust them more - tho I'd still not trust them to the point of giving all my data to them.

    3. John Stalberg

      Chrome is WebKit based, not Mozilla

      "They took Firefox's source code and built a browser they're using to try and beat the shit out of Firefox."

      They took WebKit, Apples and KDE's source code, also used by Nokia and others, to make a browser and a desktop OS! Mozilla code is not the base here and still have a big contributor in Google without Google using it for more than an alternative for IE. Now Google have made their own alternative and it will be interesting to see if their contribution to Mozilla will change?

  40. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Ignoramus

    I accept nothing from you, AC, you can blow it out your arse.

    Have a nice day!

    1. John Sanders

      Dear moderatrix

      We beg you not to publish replies to posts you whipped out, it makes us hmm... Let's say it excites our feverish collective imaginations.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism at work

    This is free market capitalism at its best. Just as a cartel think they've sewn up a market, along comes a new player to inject some life into it.

    What do the operators want? Surely not more market regulation?

    They are the real villains of the piece, as their casual use of a disability as a term of abuse shows.

  42. Mikel

    Progress ain't easy

    The wireless situation was hopelessly blocked up by companies preventing progress to maximize their profits. Along comes Google and says "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" I care less about the business models of companies that won't give me progress than I do about the ones that do. So forgive me for not shedding a tear for the poor defenseless wireless cabal with their deliberately incompatible networks, vendor lock-in, locked-down phones. I will not lament the end of their stately motion toward newer and better technologies - we've paid them well and they let us down. Now it's time for a bumpy breakneck scramble into the future, complete with bruises and pain - but it will be an exciting ride.

    /grenade because there was no plunger.

  43. fandom
    Dead Vulture

    I am shocked, shocked to find out

    Let's see if got it right:

    In 2008 Google partnered with HTC to create a Google-branded smartphone, the HTC Dream, other phone makers saw that it was good and decided to created their own android phones.

    In 2010 Google partened with HTC to create a Google-branded smartphone, the nexus one. Other phone makers are shocked, shocked to find out, and go around saying "How could they do this to us?!!"

    Is that it?

  44. bop

    It's not so bad, unless it backfires

    The problem with smartphones is that most of them were crap.

    Essentially, telecom providers (in the US at least) tried to lock you into their crap products, services, and monitized websites. It was something like AOL.

    What Google has done (With help from Apple) is say: The internet should be the internet, not some lame version of it that only monitizes your carrier.

    If handset manufactures were not tweaking Android (badly) so that it took them a lot of effort to enable a handset upgrade, there would be little percieved need for a Gphone. However, many manufacturers have setup complex (apparently bitmapped) UI's that are not generic enough to be portible; hence they have not updated from Android 1.5 or 1.6. (Samsung, Motorola, HTC...) Since this has happened, there is a percieved need for a handset that won't be tied to whims of the carrier - or handset manufacturer.

    This is what the Gphone provides. It has (and will likely continue to have) the "latest, most-hype-iest" OS version to date. You can be pretty sure that the OS will continue to be able to upgrade to the latest version - even if that version is too heavy for your phone. This is not the case with many phones that people assumed would be upgradable to new software - as the existing one had teething issues.

    I think that end-users have stopped trusting statements from Telecom operators (Hello AT&T: How long did we wait for MMS on the iPhone? How about tethering?) Combine this with the perception that "someone is keeping me from upgrading my OS" and there is perception that a Gphone (Showing how it's done right, upgradable and everything.) is needed. There is nothing that keeps vendors from allowing upgrades of their old phones to the "Newist Shiniest" but them selves.

    Wireless Operators want the most money for themselves. They want to be the customers for all phone vendors. Apple made them change the way they did things, to benefit the consumers with new features. Google is just continuing this: their customers are not the Wireless companies, but the End users. AOL is dead. Long live the internet.

  45. Brett Brennan 1

    Wal*Mart model

    I once shared a 90 minute car ride from Fayetteville, AR to Bentonville (Home Office of Wal*Mart) with three vendors who sell millions of items to that retail behemoth. Every one complained that they were getting, literally, only a few pennies of profit from each item sold through Wal*Mart - much less than any other channel they sold through. So I asked them why they didn't just dump Wal*Mart and go through their other channels.

    The unanimous response: "We make more money, even at pennies per item, through Wal*Mart than ALL of our other channels combined".

    So, the same will occur with Google. Yes, they may "screw" the cellcos, and have dubious morals with consumers, but in the end the volume will make up for the screwing and the cellcos will stick it out with Google. After all, AT&T has gotten HAMMERED by Apple and the iPhone: besides no control over the channel, the network problems that have the Feds breating down their neck. Yet they're happy to keep the few pence they get...because it's still more than they got with any other device.

    'Nuff said. Off to the pub.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Higher quantity argument is unsustainable in most cases

      That economic and business model is only useful if used far from any of the limits or boundary conditions of the models. If there is any significant reduction in the quantity sold, or unexpected disruptive event on a large scale, it is likely that most or even ALL remaining suppliers will fail.

      Even responding to slower changes such as caused by market saturation are difficult as globalization and production efficiency have eliminated any benefits. While consolidation and reducing less "efficient" suppliers from the marketplace might in theory remain as options with enough time and enough suppliers still remaining, rapid unexpected events that disrupt the global quantity sold could cause every supplier to fail so quickly to precluded market responses.

      We have seen a lot of these problems recently in many industries -- banking, autos, financial services, retail, housing, and many more. If the failing suppliers are large enough, visible enough, "important" enough or thought essential, and politically connected, then government intervention could step in to bailout, nationalize, or otherwise provide relief, though usually a great cost to its citizens and to the employees, shareholders, and suppliers to the failing enterprises.

      Smaller suppliers that are owner operated are faced with financial ruin with little recourse. Almost no company has reserves to last long without sales.

      Once the suppliers are gone, there is little incentive for anyone to re-enter the market and there might be few people with the specialized and institutional skills and knowledge required.

      Eventually nearly every industry will face this situation. Efficient markets leave little profit and few jobs for anyone.

  46. John Sanders


    The network operators know only to charge, charge, charge and charge, did I say they charge A LOT. They send me SMS's I do not asked for and that I have no means to block, they ring me night and day to offer me extremely expensive data plans I have not asked for, and when they decide to charge me for a service I have not used but they think I did, they have no mercy on me, and I have to run miles to get my money back.

    While Google offers me some value in exchange of my privacy, (privacy I can defend by technical means btw), the phone operators take my money, take my privacy (yes they do much more than google to or can), and they always try to lock me into their stupid contracts, lock my phones, or make me change handset because their data tariff only run on their sponsored phones. they put caps on what the handsets can do. Heck they even modify the GUI of the handset so their expensive and utterly shit slow Internet connection is on a place where you hit it by accident so they can charge you even more money for nothing. etc, etc, etc.

    The iphone proved that until it was released on the market most if not all phones had a rubbish interface people had no choice but to shallow, the Google phone will prove that the operators and some manufacturers are a load of crap regarding what a mobile phone is or can do nowadays, and it will highlight that the mobile network is a piece of rotten shit too.

    So, if Google is good but sinister and in the process kills them, go for it, I even invite them to go further and kill BT and Telefonica too, they deserve it (specially Telefonica)

    Yes once they are the only one will become evil rulers of the world and screw us all... but that's going to happen anyway, sooner or later by somebody else if not them. And this won't make me appreciate anybody on the mobile industry.

  47. Alex 3

    And in further news today

    And I for one welcome our new google overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted user of mobile cellular technology - I can be helpful in ringing up others to toil in their underground advertising cartel.

    Sponsored Links:

    Try new handy bambey brain... Handy bambey is the key to your inner light - available from the google chrome brain neural network. Plug yourself in.

  48. TJPSolutions

    El Reg - Time to listen huh!

    Quit with the Google is evil crap...

    Sure they do the odd bad thing, so do all mayor corp' but they also do a lot of good things, unlike a lot of said same major corp'.

    Just try (for once) to be unbiased towards Google ok???????

    Yes I am a Google fan sue me!

  49. Ian.

    "Googlenet already carries 10 per cent of the net’s traffic internally"

    Citation needed.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    yet another tedious anti-Google scriebe ...

    You're getting very f*cking tedious with this anti-Google paranoia ..

  51. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    @All the Andrew O haters

    Mr. Orlowski and I do not agree on much. In fact, I remember a disagreement a while back that started off more or less with my calling him a right-wing nutball. I am one of those who believes that he has blinders the size of continents on about actual science versus politics and his personal libertarian desires. (Specifically as regards climate change.) I could probably write entire articles about how very deeply I disagree with the man, and how he can sometimes elucidate his prejudices in such a way as to infuriate me. That’s his job, however. He is listed as an “editor-at-large” for El Reg. He writes editorials.

    Despite all of the above fellow commenttards; of all the A.O. articles to bust a vein over, I this is not remotely the one. In this case he is actually reporting a piece of news to us. The network operators are feeling pooped on by Google. He may go a little off the rails in many of his works, but this was a superb article that actually detailed what Google’s various partners have been muttering about. (To be honest, I’ve heard a few similar mutterings across the backchannel myself.) He relays this information to us in a “connect the dots” fashion, with a lot of sensationalism attached, but for once he’s actually relaying news, not just opinion. He even enabled comments. Let’s cut him a little bit of slack.

    Now I’ve just written a comment defending Mr. Orlowski instead of argumentatively disagreeing with him. As far as omens go, that can’t be good…

  52. Doug Bostrom

    Outrage: Google not volunteering as enunuch

    Oh, that bad, bad Google! They're not playing ball with carriers! That is to say, they've noticed that other vendors are expected to undergo orchidectomy prior to shifting product and they're not going along with the plan.

    Manufacturers should complain to themselves, or change their arrangements.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    End-users are not Google's customers; advertisers are

    The Google business model is primarily based on revenue from selling advertising to someone, and of course increasing their own market valuation.

    End-users who will buy the advertised products are required to justify the value of advertising with them. It is the net equivalent to newspaper or magazine circulation (qualified).

    Even Google can not sustain revenue growth, or even sustain current revenue, for very long. Consider how quickly the traditional publishing world is decaying. Craigslist alone has severely impacted the once-lucrative classified advertising revenue of newspapers throughout the entire US.

  54. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So less Gene Wilder and more Johnny Depp

    You know, the version that *isn't* based on Michael Jackson.

    Mines the one with an (alleged) bottle of Jesus juice in it.

  55. Matt 53

    Build up interest...

    Get third parties to release Android products and whip up interest, then do it all yourself, Google. Because it worked for 3Dfx with Voodoo 3. Ahem.

  56. Atreya

    Good for consumers

    I am surprised at such a Pro-Big Telecom article coming from The Register.

    I welcome the Google Phone. I'm tired of being locked-in with the Mobile Operator's 'subsidies'. I want choice, and Google provided what none of the other handset manufacturers were willing to do. This will bring not only greater innovation but real choice to the user.

  57. FailKing
    Thumb Up


    in an Orlowski thread.

  58. David Webb


    Nice article Andrew but one mistake (maybe more than one, but only one that I can be bothered to point out):

    "One of the most puzzling tech business stories of the last ten years is how Nokia surrendered its smartphone lead and reacted like a rabbit in the headlights when the game changed. "

    Nokia still has the smartphone lead, Gartner suggests it's lead is 3 times the market share of Apple, Apple is sitting at 13%, Nokia at 49% or something like that. Not sure, it was on the BBC anyhow. Nokia controls almost half the smartphone market, by anyones calculations that is a lead in the smartphone market, and with the N900 and Maemo it should hopefully start to claw back the (little) marketshare it has lost to Apple/Android.

    So, can you recommend a search engine other than google?

  59. andrewjg

    what goes around

    Awwwww, boohoo. Fancy that, the phone companies getting the end of the same shaft they've bene giving to customers for years. Bleeds my heart.

    1. chris swain

      Live by the sword etc...

      If you are in favour of free market capitalism why complain when it works? If an incumbent teleco megacorp is so entrenched in its business model that it can't respond to changing conditions on the ground they deserve to go like the dinosaurs. Adapt and survive.

      The sooner the mobile telecos realise that they are just data channels and quit f'kin' around with opaque lock-in contracts and just give prices on the bandwidth you use the better.

      Fail because they haven't responded to changing business conditions, same as the 'rights' holders that the big 'O' always bigs up really...

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Insulting people by using mental illness terms

    brilliant I knew it would come into fashion. Well, that was rather autophagial of the mobile phone exec.

    Damn, now I have to read the article, oh screw it, premature ejaculation and schizophreniform, that's what the baddies of this piece have, don't ask me how I know that, you wouldn't want to know.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Andrew is right yet again!

    Folks, Andrew is merely stating that the "Not Evil" Google is, in fact, quite capable of causing harm to those who believe "Google Can Do No Wrong." What is interesting is that many of you are happy if Google is screwing phone companies--in effect, you are agreeing that Google CAN do wrong.

    Haven't you found it interesting that Google refuses to put in place reasonable privacy practices? Do each of you feel okay with the fact that Google personnel could conceivably read your Gmail (or at least via proxy, know the contents or search, even if they choose to not directly read your private stuff), track your search requests for decades with an easy to de-engineer obfuscation, and potentially even listen to your voice calls through their utilities without your knowledge?

    Google becomes like God to any wayward employee they may have. Are you a woman someone's at Google has a crush on? You can bet the tools of Google are at the disposal of that secret geek admirer.

    Andrew, I completely agree with all of your articles to date. Keep up the good fight!!

    1. Law
      Paris Hilton


      "Folks, Andrew is merely stating that the "Not Evil" Google is, in fact, quite capable of causing harm to those who believe "Google Can Do No Wrong." "

      Any company that relies on marketing information rather than legally binding contracts deserve to get shafted - you shouldn't feel sorry for incompetent management.

      "What is interesting is that many of you are happy if Google is screwing phone companies--in effect, you are agreeing that Google CAN do wrong."

      No - what people are saying is that for years networks have been screwing over customers, using shady business practices, and being very corporate when dealing with people's personal problems. Example - if somebody lost their job, can they cancel the contract?? Sure - once you pay up the rest of your contract up... after all, they entered into an agreement with a legally binding contract. So, the question here is did they enter into such a contract with google saying they couldn't sell their own phone?? No?? Oh - but we should feel bad for the right, because google said they were a nice company, so surely it's implied they won't act in their own interest? I'm sure other companies are completely 100% upfront with their practises in marketing right??

      Nothing is true, everything is permitted. :)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        mixing apples and oranges

        "...networks have been screwing over customers... So, the question here is did they enter into such a contract with google saying they couldn't sell their own phone?"

        You mix two parties - networks and phone manufacturers - primary losers are mobile manufacturers, like Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson with their new Android phones. They got some serious shafting. That's quite Microsoftish of Google ('90s MSFT).

        I agree though, that telcos are for some rude awakening and this part is a good thing, but only should they (in some reasonable, competitive form) survive. Otherwise we will have quite a lot of time to enjoy Google's steely grip...

        Google is turning itself into bully. Some people only don't realise that Google is not on their side, but only on its own side. We are losing freedom and choice while masses are applauding.

  62. James Butler
    Thumb Up

    Love! The! New! El! Reg! Order!

    "This post has been deleted by a moderator"

    So ... a post is first moderated by a moderator, and if it does not suit a different moderator, the post can be removed ... sweet. It must be nice for your moderators to know that they are being moderated. Now all you need is a placeholder that says," This post was rejected by a moderator" so their moderator overlords don't need to break a sweat!

    (I know ... not a Yahoo! comment, but El Reg is just so COOL when they throw around the extra exclamation points. It's positively oompa-loompy!)

    And Orlowski needs to get a thicker skin. Knee jerk responses to flames is so 2009.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    On the other hand...

    If the google can do it what is holding up the others?

    Now here may be an emerging pattern:

    The Apple does it and does it with style on a new device that is a first ever for the Apple.

    The google does it and does it with style on a new device that is a first ever for the google.

    Hmmm, ... ?

    An emerging pattern?

    So what is holding up the other players or preventing them from leading with equality of condemnation into a dullness of me-too-ism?

  64. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Disagree on other google points

    Regarding Google's internal network -- network providers wanted to charge more than Google wanted to pay to send traffic between their data centers, would not increase bandwidth fast enough. Google found it was cheaper to buy up dark fiber and light it up themselves. So they did. I don't see this as some sinister plan to work around the providers.

    The copyright plan was not sinister either. Having all these books that are probably out of copyright, but no-one can or will nail down copyright status, so they just sit in libraries collecting dust and waiting to get thrown out.. that's a tragedy, which Google is working to remedy. This is not a bad thing.

    The plan with cell cos, well, it's a little odd that Google's releasing their own phone, but I say why not? I am not interested in specifically having a google-branded phone, I just want one with good features; if the Google phone out-specs the others I'll go for it; if it doesn't I won't.

    I should add the Erricson X10 being Sony branded is a mark AGAINST it -- it's well known at least here in the states that Sony makes products that are unnecessarily proprietary, tend to be buggy, and poorly supported (they historically will decline to fix bugs in EXISTING products even when it's a simple firmware update, instead telling customers to just buy a newer model.)

  65. Craig Taylor 1

    Internet vs. phone network

    I pay my phone provider and my internet provider about the same amount every month (a bit more for the phone actually), but my internet provider lets me use any device I want on the network and charges a flat amount no matter what services I use on it.

    Since I live in a reasonably populated area, if everyone just took the encryption off wifi, the phone network could become redundant... One could only hope.

  66. Golodh

    Terribly one-sided article, and questionable too

    Interesting to see that The Register apparently endorses such a so blatantly one-sided article. I don't often see articles that bash Google so thoroughly, except by writers approved by a certain very large software company, well known for its operating systems and office packages.

    What such articles tend to have in common is that they deal primarily in allegations (served up in lurid and colorful phrases) but fail to provide any verifiable facts.

    In addition, it may or may not interest the writer that the Google search engine makes the difference between the Internet as a searchable, and therefore tremendously valuable resource and the Internet as a mere collection of proprietary islands with wires strung between them.

    The Internet without a search engine is like a road network with all the road signs removed.

    And then that tidbit about Google lobbying to "kneecap creators and rights-holders" is interesting. Perhaps the author forgot that search engines are the great catalyst of online commerce (including the sales of copyrighted works like music, articles, images, video's, and software)? Just read up on the horror stories of firms whose page-ranking suddenly dropped so that they were no longer on page 1. Stories which are typically the result of Google's counter-measures to the widespread practice of "search engine consultants" creating tons of fake pages just to artificially boost the page rank of some paying customer (typically a creator and a rights-holder). Such companies can find their revenues plummet within days because they aren't visible enough.

    I also don't suppose the author ever did any scientific research (or has come into contact with anyone who did). Those that do will know that "rights holders" (read: publishers) base their business on nothing but a rolodex, a server, and an editor to commit the largest land-grab of intellectual property in history. Scientific articles are typically the result of expensive research (paid for by public funds, not the publishers), which is typed up and made almost camera-ready by those same researches (at no cost to the publishers), then peer-reviewed by highly-paid (not by any publishers but by the public purse and private research institutes) researchers, before being stamped "Intellectual Property of the Publisher", formatted, and then sold for huge sums to all kinds of research institutes and university libraries while the publisher faces practically zero cost for distribution. And sold for 25$ per article to the general public (yes, that's right, the same public that funded the research in the first place). Not a bad return for renting a web-server for 100$ a month.

    But it gets better. Publishers typically offer _no_ uniform way of locating anything in their publications. At best they offer shoddy little search engines that can't hold a candle to Google in terms of power, speed, or flexibility. Oh yes, and then those rights-holders hire writers and other lobbyists to whine about their "Intellectual Property", for they are being soooo kneecapped. It reminds one of the Middle Ages when knowledge was locked up inside "guilds" and called "trade-secrets". Books were hugely expensive and kept out of the way in cloisters. Needless to sat that the Middle Ages weren't known as a period of particularly vibrant scientific and technological development. Society as a whole is more served with knowledge being disseminated and being available than it is by knowledge being sold for profit by the one party that had no part in its generation or in its description.

    Besides, remember the Mickey Mouse act ( the one that extended the duration of copyright the year before Disney's copyrights were due to expire)? Now call to mind the joys of software patents and the resulting deluge of lawsuits. And the de-facto monopoly of Nexis-Lexis on court case repositories? And the DMCA that gives "content creators" unprecedented powers of obfuscation that play hob with libraries' ability to unlock knowledge? The whole-scale content filtering that's about to be unleashed upon the world under the current secret ACTA proposals in the name of protecting the holy IP? What's the positive impact of all this for society (barring those who happen to have stocks in the Mickey Mouse industry or major publishers).

    Suffice it to say that copyright is anything but God-given. It's merely a rule that's instituted by society in order to promote innovation and creation and it can be changed if that seems appropriate. Right now it's (as is not unusual) formed primarily to protect the interests of those with the most powerful propaganda and lobbying efforts. No need to have "The Register" add to that (or does it find itself cash-strapped at the moment?)

    Google is a god-sent for anyone who doesn't have an on-line connection to a mayor research library and serves the need for knowledge like no other institution on Earth. Surely one can bear that in mind when lambasting it for "kneecapping rights holders"?

    Last but not least, what exactly is the problem with Google marketing 1 additional hand-held "Google" phone? Why is that detrimental? Google doesn't make the handset now, does it? And if cell-phone manufacturers thought they could use the name "Google phone" exclusively they just learned different.

    1. Chris Fox

      Google's copyright monopoly

      You make some valid points about problems with copyright and academic publishing. But this does not justify Google, and only Google, being given special treatment, namely a de facto (and possibly soon to be legalised) monopoly on the right to process copyright text (orphaned or not) and publish the results of that processing, and the original content, in breach of existing copyright law, without fear of prosecution.

      In a very real sense, it can be argued that Google is just becoming another land-grabbing robber-baron publisher of the kind that you complain about, although on an even larger scale.

      Anyone else who tries to develop tools and techniques for organising and searching publications, either as a service to academics and others, or as an alternative to Google, constantly has to struggle with the problem of how to avoid breaching the terms and conditions of copyright, making it difficult to provide better tools and more sophisticated indexing of publications, let alone compete with Google. (I speak from personal experience here.)

      Problems with copyright law, and the ownership of publicly funded work, should be addressed by reforming the law, not by allowing the creation of another monopoly publisher.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    How do you feel when you don't like anyone in a fight?

    I don't like phone companies, those of us who are old enough to remember the days of Ma Bell before the 1984 breakup sometimes grow wistful of the days when things were simpler. Sure, we didn't have all the features like call forwarding but we had straightforward plain service, no the friend circles and so many cents a minute deals, or plans so complex it requires an accountant to figure it out.

    No salesmen calling you in a huff at 9AM on a Sunday morning demanding to know why you changed service, or low out the door costs but mysterious fees showing up to always jack up the prices. So in a nutshell I hate the modern phone companies, and only grudgingly use a cell.

    And Google......the search was cool, so was Google Earth and Gmail. But now, what are they not sticking their nose into? Endless reams of personal data, GPS data, books, news, and now phone services are at their fingertips. They're turning into the new Microsoft, just with the panache and style to make some people think they really are out to "do no evil." (Note to Steve Ballmer, drop the goofy product name and hire an image consultant).

    So while I know things will be settled out of public view, I'd still like a drawn out and nasty fight, because frankly I don't care who wins, I'd like to see both get pummeled.

  68. powertogeeks

    AT&T lobbied for allowing non-net neutrality in EU law

    Another gross inaccuracy : <So Google stoked the bogus ‘net neutrality’ scare (directly writing legislation for the European Parliament, in one instance) which handicapped the network operators' ability to monetize their network fairly (by say launching a VoD service)..>

    Wasn't AT&T lobbying for non-net neutrality rules in Europe so they would have better cards in the US when it became clear that democrats take over? Much of what is now in the EU's telecoms package on internet restrictions is not good for net neutrality, and has been partly drafted by AT&T.

    As a reward, AT&T hired the guy who was in charge of the EU governments' team negotiating team as their lobbyist.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: AT&T lobbied for allowing non-net neutrality in EU law



      Was "dontkicksandinmyfaceyoujocks" taken? Or is this witty self parody?


      "Wasn't AT&T lobbying for non-net neutrality rules in Europe so they would have better cards in the US when it became clear that democrats take over?"

      No, you're badly informed. The first of the articles you cite from your paranoid blogger was written in 2009. Google had intervened more than a year earlier, without the dinosaurs noticing for quite some time.

  69. Anonymous Coward


    All the whining about this disruptive tactic is v backwards.

    Those raking it in from the staus quo always whine when a progressive comp shakes things up. M$ tried to monopolise. They got shafted because ripping people off creates a strong demand for an alternative. It's a catch 22. Monopolies/cartels spawn their own nemeses. The EXTORTION being wrought on mobile phone users in some areas of the developed world (for example charging to RECEIVE text messages (even if spam) in Canada...) has made Google's entry extremely appealing. And to be honest, it's great to have another competitor however they're doing things. The cartel that's currently working here is preventing uptake of mobile tech and holding the people back and therefore holding the country back. If Google smashes them, FINE. They set themselves up for it.

    If Google can do it all for free. Fair play to them. And if this gives them a temporary monopoly as they smashed their rivals so hard, fine. That's "competition". Sometimes there is only one winner and all the other comps lose. Sometimes it's their own fault for being too greedy.

    And Google will be just as vulnerable to this, so let's play.

    Would you rather have Apple or Google monopolise the planet's coms? Which would be better value for users? Sure a few developers will whinge, as will salespersons of outdated crap. And indeed the execs of their outdated comps. Just as some bricks and mortar stores whined about the internet, others embraced it. Those that did became dominant. When you see something that's going to happen, you should get with the program because clinging to a model that is obviously not as good for the gen public will get you left behind.

    Down the road, there will be almost no diff in performance between hardware/interface between phone brands, just as with digital cameras and indeed pre-smart-phones. They evolved fast until they were all pretty much the same in terms of what mattered. In the photography realm, Canon/Nikon have different approaches and some favour each, but they both do the job and any given price-point.. You got quality images and easy use from either comp for about the same price. Take your pick.

    Now if one of them suddenly did everything for nothing and you just had to have some ads on your camera-body...., but get all the functionality. FINE! So their competitor goes out of business. FINE. They should have done it themselves. Their own failure to do that prevented their long-term success. Is it unethical to put a load of professional liars (phone sales staff) out of their job? Well, there's a paradox. They were never ethical themselves!...

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Telecoms, Google

    Like most other posters I could not care less about the telecom operators "losing" their walled garden. They apparently still do not understand what the internet is all about. Their default internet plans are just ridiculous (10 cent per 10kByte or so). Also, they feel it is their god-given right to sell overpriced packages of handset+plan.

    My DSL provider does not care where I buy my PC, what applications I run or what websites I use. They simply charge a fixed, flat fee and that's it.

    Mobile Telecom operators have to accustom themselves to a business model that resembles the DSL model. Except that there might be an upper limit of data traffic like the 5GB that are custom with the reasonable data plans.

    Regarding Google, their phone is clearly geared to suck in ever more data to the Google data centers. We can go for that or we can go for alternatives. The good old intranet storage model of Microsoft, HP, SUN and IBM might not be that bad after all. What MS has to do is to get the hassle out of securing and administering their products. It should not be too difficult to create an infrastructure that is on par with Google office web services and is run in the intranet of a user organization. Let's see whether Ape Ballmer can do it...

  71. Tim Almond

    Boo Hoo

    "In Google’s vision of the future, there are no $80bn-a-year turnover giants like Vodafone. Instead, masts are merely a dumb transmission network"

    And this is bad, how?

    Most of your article reads to me as nothing more than "Google is bringing fair competition to others". Google invented Android and is now making a phone that is giving the competition a hard time? What was to stop any of those handset partners from developing an open source, Linux based operating system? Nothing.

    DoCoMo isn't going to make as much money because the customer can go and get cheaper content elsewhere? I'm crying. Really.

  72. F1reman

    I just don't understand what...

    ...all the fuss is about.

    Google are just competition who don't play by golf club rules and as anyone who has dealt with the mobile operators in this country will testify, thank god for people like google and can we have more of them please.

    What is it that we're meant to be so scared/angry with Google about exactly? They collect lots of data so that they can make everything free/pay by ads? So you don't want it with ads? Don't want your data collected? so go else where and pay for your search, email, streetview then...oh, and you'd better stop using your credit card right now coz guess what? they know and keep records of all those porn sites you subscribe to and have done for years...and your real name and where you live.

    Those dystopias you mention were written by drug fueled very paranoid authors with vivid imaginations. "Utopia will never be Utopia as long as humans exist in Utopia" Get used to the idea, we get what we deserve.

    I'll get me coat coz I bought the t-shirt.

  73. Kevin Reader
    Gates Horns

    Hmm. Drinking SCO's Koolaid I think

    This rather aborted relationship between Google and its previous phone partners, reminds me of the somewhat infamous (new-)SCO quote at the start of their lawsuits:

    "Contracts are something that let you sue people."

    So paraphrasing - "Contracts are something you use against people", and not something you have to regulate how you work *WITH* or *FOR* someone.

    So when google set up a relationship its all about Google and the future, not about the partnership or now. That's more like having a dodgy boyfriend (or girlfriend). There was another firm used to do that, I recall the phrase "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish"; erm it was M, Mi, Micro, (started something like that).

  74. Charles King
    Dead Vulture

    Oh look, it's Andrew Orlowski

    "Google has its own private internet"

    So does any company that owns the wires connecting different locations.

    Oh, wait, it's Andrew Orlowski, what do you expect?

    Any phone-maker who went Android in the belief that Google was giving them a freebie deserves to get shafted.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Lesser of two "evils"

    Interesting angle, Andrew, but are you actually saying that the carriers have been fair & upstanding corporate citizens these last 15 years, making a fair profit?

    Yes, of course, Google is going to slaughter the carriers...if for no other reason, the carriers lack imagination and innovation. They're all making billions of dollars in profit per year (including their capital outlays) and we get sh--, neutered handsets that only do voice and overpriced SMS -- oh, and reallllly cheap, annoying ringtones (until Apple took a machete to them...and now Google).

    As @Anon pointed out with the Russian proverb (hilarious!), the middlemen have been highjacking commerce since fire was discovered...sometimes useful, but mostly just gouging.

    I mean, step back for one second. Isn't it quite juvenile to listen to carrier execs these days (and Wall Street execs) whine & bitch about someone taking their toys away -- after they've been raping & pillaging billions of dollars from us via their oligopolies? It's laughable.

    Finally, a new business model emerges that breaks the stalemate. It's called progress. Yes, of course I hacked when I read Eric Schmidt laugh off privacy concerns -- except when his home address was made public, but when they really compromise something...hopefully we'll have a competitior to turn to...maybe. ;)

    In the meantiime, this is leveling the playing field, and I'll vote with my wallet and my clicks & taps. (Don't minimize the importance of either.)

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Lesser of two "evils"

      "Interesting angle, Andrew, but are you actually saying that the carriers have been fair & upstanding corporate citizens these last 15 years, making a fair profit?"

      If your argument needs a straw man, it's almost certainly made of straw - or something weaker.

      "been raping & pillaging billions of dollars from us via their oligopolies"

      Why don't we hear these spotty adolescent rants from mobile phone customers from India, Brazil or Europe (for example). It's not as if the networks corporate governance or market share is so different. You must tell me.

      1. Renato

        Raping & Pillaging

        So as a mobile phone customer from Brazil I can say: You don't need a bloody mobile phone!

        Why can't you live without one? Until 199?, when the general public started buying them, people lived without one pretty much well and relied on public phones.

        At least here in Brazil, [the (at least somewhat) wealthy] people had Internet before mobile phones. Dial-up, with exorbitant phone rates charged differently according to the hour, I might add.

        But still, if you had no Internet for a day (or more) you would not miss it.

        Now the thing is all about using the interwebbs to tweet the picture from the mates on the pub or something like that. And $deity forbids if that cell has no 3G coverage.

        Someone said that even with more "social" websites/services/etc, we are getting less face-to-face conversations. Now the computer is the proxy.

      2. Rodrigo Rollan

        Beg to differ @Buenos Aires, Argentina

        "Why don't we hear these spotty adolescent rants from mobile phone customers from India, Brazil or Europe (for example). It's not as if the networks corporate governance or market share is so different. You must tell me."

        Well I live in Argentina, were we can confirm to pillaging, raping nda other colonial-esque tactics. The fact that people are not commenting on your article in a Uk based site (wich I Love, by the way) does not mean the y don't agree. Carriers are Carriers are Carriers. Given a legal framework they´ll find a way to squeeze as much money out of their customer base as possible.

  76. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: an new challenger has entered the game

    "but now it seems there's a new catelgory of googletards/oompaloompafidlers that the Nexus One seems to have brought into the limelight"

    Oh, I've heard from them nonstop since 2003. They like their politics nice and simple (and fought through corporate proxies):

    Google is Good. Google will Do Good. And Good will Prevail. The world doesn't get any more sophisticated or nuanced than that. Criticism of Google is attacking Goodness itself and the Goo fanbois take it all very personally (like Apple fanbois).

  77. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Long thread is long.

    130 posts and counting; long thread is long. Let’s try to sum this up, shall we folks?

    1) Google is a corporation. Google, whatever it’s origins is now a *public* corporation. Legally, the individuals who operate this corporation are required to pursue every legal avenue to “increase shareholder value.” This means that Google does not care about you, Google is not “good,” “righteous,” or “pure.” Everyone please remember that we are not Google’s customers. Other corporations which pay advertising dollars are. We are in fact, the product that Google sells. Google is a money grubbing multi-billion-dollar megacorporation to which you, me and the guy down the street are completely irrelevant. You do not care about the “feelings” or “desires” of your video card or hard drive, nor of the plastic wrap or cardboard box you put it in.

    2) The carriers are corporations. Publicly traded entities that are legally bound to pursue every legal avenue to “increase shareholder value.” Unlike Google, all of us are customers of the carriers. As are other corporations, governments, and frankly just about everyone else. As most carriers are in a monopoly or semi-monopoly position in their markets, they have no need or reason to expend resources being nice to us, or caring what we think. In fact, it is questionable whether it is even legal for them to expend resources to make us happy in a monopoly position. To do so would be wasting resources that the company would not be required to expend in order to maximize profits, and might well leave the directors o the company open to a lawsuit or two from shareholder. Remember: they are legally bound to “increase shareholder value.”

    3) Apple is a publicly traded corporation. If Google or the carriers or your local magabakery start to show signs of similar behavior, then you might consider that they all have the same goal: “increasing shareholder value.” They do not exist to make you happy. They do not exist to serve your needs. They exist to provide you with what you request or desire if, and only if, it will increase shareholder profits.

    4) Last but not least, everyone REMEMBER MICROSOFT IN THIS. It seems to be a case of “we have become comfortable with the devil we know.” Let me remind you that Microsoft is a corporation. It is a publicly traded corporation that is legally bound to “increase shareholder value.” It is largely a monopoly in many of the markets it operates. It also doesn’t give a shit what you want or what you like. It has also been around for a very long time, and has been suspiciously quiet of late. No major or overt attempts to screw more money out of its customers. Even the “no upgrade editions for Office 2010” was a fairly muted attempt to wring more money out of its customer base. Come on people, if you have the passion and energy to fight three holy wars about which megacorporation “actually cares about you” then surely you can’t forget the longest running internet passion fight of them all?

    To recap: El Reg has been (deservedly) on a “Apple is run by a bunch of sociopathic control freaks, frequented by individuals who enjoy being dominated” tear for a long time. Similarly El Reg has been on a “Google is the sqrt($all_evil)” for an equal period of time. Commentards have spent the past two months tear-assing around the comments sections whinging about every non-Asian carrier known to man. Every one of these whingefests and persecutions are justified (to limited extents.) As epic as these three fanboi/antifanboi wars are, everyone seems to haven Microsoft a free pass in this. All of it is completely irrelevant. Who you like, don’t like, enjoy products from, dislike products by, who makes a shiney knob or how much of an arrogant ass Andrew O, myself the Pope or your grandmother can be is completely irrelevant.

    They are PUBLICLY TRADED AMERICAN CORPORATIONS. Each and every single one of them is legally required to have only one goal: INCREASE SHAREHOLDER VALUE. NOne of them give a flying fuck about you, or what you want. Get over yourselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up



    2. RegReaderrr

      Go a Step Further

      We know what the goal of a public corporation is, but that's not the point. You don't seem to know that it's more important what the corporations are allowed to do. For example, it is in the interest of window and glass manufacturers to break your windows, it is in the interest of doctors to have you sick (in the US at least), etc. Such behavior used to be kept in check by competition, and other law. No more. Nowadays monopolies are sold. maintained and bailed out no matter what damage they do. Since our governments have already sold out to malicious interests, it's essential to maintain some public awareness as a defense against damaging practices. In other words, since we failed at the ballot box, we better try to vote properly with our wallets. In this regard the article has value, it's not perfect, but it's a step forward from the bunch of parrots elsewhere.

  78. RegReaderrr

    Two wrongs don't make a right

    Unethical behavior should not be excused. Legalities aside, Google was assuring everyone that they had interest only in adverts, NOT hardware.

    Nexus' T-Mobile deal is not cheaper or better than the rest, so the end users gain nothing. Besides, phone manufacturers like Motorola, experience the largest problems. They have already spent a lot on advertising their phones AND Android, which Google picks up for free by being the original thing. To add insult to injury, Nexus runs a new version of Android not supplied to the other partners. Google is not in the game for the end users. Actually by being bigger and more resourceful they can push the users around easier.

    I have to say the obvious here, bad business practices are prevailing throughout the western world. They are the result of sloppy legislation, deliberately drafted with humongous loopholes. It is ludicrous to think that any private company will "do no evil" and keep themselves from exploiting the loopholes.

    Corruption in government and private enterprise is the reason for these problems. They can't be fixed by anything other than responsible and active population... and that's nowhere to be found.

  79. jai

    an new challenger has entered the game

    suddenly a new bread of El Reg reader has come out of the electronic woodwork in force

    we've long had the war between wintards and Jobs-zealots (with the occasional smug volley from a freetard linux user)

    but now it seems there's a new catelgory of googletards/oompaloompafidlers that the Nexus One seems to have brought into the limelight

    one of these days El Reg is going to have to arrange a flashmob fight in a park somewhere where we can finally put the argument to rest

  80. OldDogNewWalk
    Thumb Up

    Must be doing something right.

    Already 106 comments on the article, and counting.

    Opinions toned every shade from black to white.

    So love him or hate him, Andrew Orlowski is doing HIS job rather well.

  81. Russ Tarbox

    Last time I checked...

    ...a "private Internet" was called an Intranet.

  82. packrat


    Nickloa (phone company) lost it lead when it replaced members of the tech team with local boys..

    friends of mine went stateside as a result.

  83. Anonymous Coward

    Hard to beleive that so...

    many people have missed the point. This is less about Google screwing the telcos and a lot more about Google gaining ever greater access to our private data.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Ignorance is strength

    As others have said and the article so lightly alludes to; don't kid yourselves. Google will not be happy until they know everything about everyone/everything on the planet.

    As a stock holder I would not want anything less. Sure we all laugh when we hear some one say "Google does no evil" but sleeping on a bed made of money helps.

  85. Obvious Robert

    The more I think about it

    the more I decide this is just a massive load of hot air over nothing. FFS this is the THIRD phone Google have sold unlocked direct to anyone who wants to buy them after the Dev 1 (G1/Dream) and the Ion (Magic/MyTouch), it only seems to be now that some people have noticed.

    And as for all this sloblock about Google screwing over their hardware partners, lets just think who made the G1? Ah yes, HTC. Oh right, so who made the Magic? Oh, HTC. Um, and the Hero? What, not HTC again? And who's the manufacturer of the so called Googlephone... go on see if you can guess. I'll give you a clue, there's a H, a T and a C in their name. Yeah, I bet HTC are really smarting over that one.

    Oh and lets not forget everyone called the G1 the "Googlephone" too, and that wasn't the end of civilisation as we know it either.

  86. sbbbo

    Google to Mobile Industry

    I for one am happy for Google's actions. They are finally lighting a fire under the OVERPRICED market in the USA. We pay more for less bandwidth than almost anywhere in the world. I would love advertising supported web and wireless services. The overpriced wireless carriers will have to develop a better business model than "stick it to the consumer".


    More Please.

    1. Renato


      It's overpriced because you accept to pay their prices.

      Stop buying/contracting their services and they will put their prices down or they won't have any money.

      People complain that "Oh! The prices are getting higher and higher!", but they keep paying. That's a great incentive to the company.

  87. Charles Manning

    Message for telcos: You made Google do this

    Fuck the customers for long enough and they will switch when they get an opportunity.

    People trust Google more than they trust telcos. The Telcos have had years of near monopoly to build loyal customer bases but instead have built an industry where poor support and customer screwing are legendary and Google looks like the gentle giant that is going to help the customers. The telcos created the opportunity for anyone and Google have filled it.

    Google releases a phone and others will continue to release theirs. This is hardly going to stiff the handset manufacturers any more than Microsoft is screwing the mouse market by releasing Microsoft mice.

  88. Big Bear

    Have ANY of you geeks shopped for a phone before?

    I'm reading a lot of stuff about locked in handset, etc. etc. but to my knowledge and experience you can go to a store, online or real, buy a handset from a manufacturer and stick a SIM into you device. Then the device has none of the network provider's crap on it, just the standard manufacturer's crap, and you can use it as you will... Network operators negotiate with manufacturers and provide a small subset of their range to the public with deals that include an alledgedly free handset, but they will give you a far cheaper tariff only deal if you ask them.

    That's what I did for my current phone, as the UK providers do not want to supply the version of phone I wanted. Paid the manufacturer directly on their website, phone arrived, got a great tariff only deal from the network dudes (no hardware provided) and Larry was a very happy man.

    1. I didn't do IT.

      Indeed - Direct Buying Pays Off (Me)

      I wanted a phone that did NOT have crap - any crap. I was tired of phones that constantly died due to cheap construction, shoddy workmanship, bad materials choices, etc. I am hard on phones, and most die from shattered screens due to pressure, shock, freezing or data card issues from close proximity to 440V EMF fields (its my job).

      So, where to get a phone that will hold up? Mil grade phones are 300+ with plan... until I found the Motorola F3 - for developing(?!) countries - its sturdy and makes calls. No real SMS (any messages are strings of gobbody gook), no camera, no video playback, no internet whizz bangs. You call people, and the phone rings when they call you.

      That's all I want a PHONE to do. How much? Less then 10 quid each - bought three just in case, but the first has lasted over a year now. Done and done.

    2. Ian 16

      You forget

      America is not used to a phone being open - we are quite lucky in the uk that unlocked unbranded handsets are so common.

  89. Anonymous Coward

    No change to wireless business model

    I don't see any news here for the wireless companies, Google has released a smartphone, it's available non subsidized or subsidized but it will only work with a single US GSM network (T-Mobile) and will later release a CDMA version that will work with Verizon.

    So what?

  90. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    One Ring to Rule them All ...and then what?*

    "Corruption in government and private enterprise is the reason for these problems. They can't be fixed by anything other than responsible and active population... and that's nowhere to be found." .... RegReaderrr Posted Sunday 10th January 2010 00:50 GMT

    I disagree, RegReaderrr, it is be found everywhere around you and is activating and has activated itself. The only problem that it and IT have, and it is not really their problem at all and would not materially effect and hinder the progress being stealthily made, is the negative attitude of beings such as yourself who would doubt anyone/anything being able to fix it, presumably because you would not be believing any alien voice which would be advising you otherwise, preferring to ignore it without thinking about what is saying and has said.

    And thus when one is not part of the Progressive Enlightening Solution is one part of the Regressive Oppressive Problem.

    "As others have said and the article so lightly alludes to; don't kid yourselves. Google will not be happy until they know everything about everyone/everything on the planet." .... Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 10th January 2010 17:01 GMT

    OK, Let's Speed things along somewhat and assume that they have reached that Particular and Peculiar Singularity. What then happens? What do Google do? What do you expect them to do and you too, whenever you know that there is a Utility which has all possible information about everyone and everything?

    * More Spinning Anarchy and Chaos like today or a Sublime Order with Perfumed Gardens and Houses of the Rising Sun with one's every Pleasant Wish Fulfilled and Already Paid for. ... the Big Brother Master MetaData Physicians' Secret Edition of In the Beginning, when IT was Everything and Imagination, was there Phorm with Emergent Dreams.

  91. MH Media
    Thumb Up

    Serves the telcos right!

    For years they've been cozy little closed shops who've dictated policy to suit themselves (obviously) and controlled the show with their infamous Walled Gardens. Now its payback time: bring it on Google!

  92. Adrian Challinor

    Do no evil

    and alienate the telco's.

    The difference is what?

  93. bbneo

    Oh for Godsakes! Grow up.

    Android is the operating system... Do you have an iPhone? iPhone 3G? iPhone 3GS?

    Don't you feel screwed that you don't have the latest thing?

    It is about time somebody put this cellular service company business model to the acid test... maybe we can start choosing the phones we want *and* choosing the service that best suits us.

  94. GhostOfRickJames

    Shamefully bad article

    I expect more from el Reg. Are you now outsourcing your articles to Fox News or freelancing Rupert Murdoch rejects?

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