back to article Google's Moto move spells iPhone doom

Mergers and acquisitions used to be how a company bought revenue, customers, or cool technology. In the mobile world, it's increasingly a way to buy defensive patents. This was clear in Google's $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and it will unfortunately fuel many of the strategies Apple, Google, and others employ to …


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  1. Dirk Vandenheuvel


    Motorolo's patents are quite old and almost useles for tablets.

    1. Paul Shirley

      pending applications old?

      7.5k pending applications are 'quite old'?

      That's a pretty novel definition of 'old' you're using ;)

  2. Steve Crook

    The sooner we get back to competing on product quality, innovation, and price, the better

    Amen to that brother, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. Thomas 4

      I don't understand.

      How can you patent innovation, pricing and product quality?

      1. Ru

        In the US? Trivially.

        The requests are already pending.

  3. ThomH

    I don't buy it

    Despite the two competing and contradictory opinion pieces on El Reg today — claiming variously that Apple is finished or that Google wasted their money on irrelevant IP from a loss-making phone manufacturer — I think this is largely a sideshow.

    The iPod showed that Apple can hold a direct-to-consumer market against a thousand competitors even when they organise under a common banner. They managed to create an aura of quality while being sufficiently competitive on price.

    I think they're having a much harder time in mobile because selling to the consumer through networks is a lot more difficult when they don't want to give the networks any control. In that environment it's not surprising that manufacturers who are more willing to balance consumer experience against network demands have been able to sell in a lot more volume. Those volumes also become a benefit for all Android users, creating more interest in the top tier, unencumbered handsets.

    That said, while the article is right that it's disingenuous to say that Apple are really winning the war with Android because they suck up so much of the profit in the handset arena, the fact that Google and others are also reaping significant funds doesn't seem to put Apple in a precarious position from where I'm sitting. Two segmented areas of profit are even less of a zero-sum game than most of the markets that the tech press likes to report as such.

    I have to admit to still being uncertain exactly why Google have bought Motorola, given their unwillingness to get engaged in legal proceedings against their licensees to date, but I seriously doubt this spells doom for the iPhone. My expectation remains the same: that Apple will end up in more of a Mac situation than an iPod situation, profitably reaping a high-value niche.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "My expectation remains the same: that Apple will end up in more of a Mac situation than an iPod situation, profitably reaping a high-value niche"

      My thoughts exactly. This will happen with both the iPhone and iPad, though not at the same time.

      Not sure why this has not happened with the iPod - iTunes, probably.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      And what about the old vs young customer argument?

      I also don't buy much of the arguments, as pointed out by ThomH.

      And saying that Android will win because thats what the young people buy and theyll be around for longer -- thats just rubbish. Exhibit A: MySpace vs Facebook... the second was the grownup place, the first disappeared. Exhibit B: mass market vs luxury cars... Mercedes and their ilk are bought by older men, as younger people dont have the cash -- but when they have the cash they dont stick by toyota or vauxhall because that's where they started, do they?

    3. Adam T
      Thumb Up

      totally agree

      Nicely put, Thom. They should cut and paste that into a new article, seeing as they're in the mood for selling all views this week.

    4. Armando 123
      Thumb Up

      Well put

      Keep in mind that part of the success of the iPod was that it was dead easy to use. Senior citizens with absolutely zero aptitude for technology could figure out how to use it and how to get music onto it. It wasn't cheap, but it didn't feel cheap and was a great design: simple, looked good, and felt good. Apple went into the market and ran roughshod over, first at the high end and then into the less profitable low end, with iTunes and the iTunes Store as its secret weapon.

      The phone and tablet markets are different, but I suspect Apple's approach -- making the whole widget to provide you a solution -- may work here as well. The PC is about the only consumer electronic device I can think of where you don't get the whole thing from one company. Microsoft makes the software, someone else makes the hardware, and the enhancements/applications are made by MS or third parties. Using PCs always feels a bit half-assed to me, whereas Macs, whatever their shortcomings, at least have reasons behind the shortcomings. I might disagree, but there seems to be a logic there rather than a hack.

      We'll see how it plays out, of course, but I suspect that Google made a mistake here. MS took a few years to get the idea of hardware/software down in the previous decade ... and even then, they have a high return rate on things XBox and the Danger fiasco ... and MS had been making customer-facing software for a lot longer than Google has.

      Either way, I'm grabbing some popcorn and an adult beverage. This should be good; certainly more interesting than baseball or NASCAR.

      1. OrsonX
        Thumb Down

        more interesting than NASCAR

        "I wonder which way the next corner will be..., oh left,....and another left...., and..."

        I love motorsport, but clearly I am missing something w.r.t. NASCAR?

    5. Seanie Ryan

      article misses so much it scary

      kids "cheap/free" grow up to be the soccer dads and then want the "cool" phone instead of being seen as Mr Cheapo Dad

      Google have NO experience in dealing directly with support/sales issues with the general public with respects to hardware. What makes you think that they know what way to go on this and wont mess it up?

      What about all the Google 'partners' who woke up Monday to find out that they are now Google Competitors. Direct competitors ! If I was HTC/Samsung I would be worried that future versions will be X months behind what google release on their own phones, Or what if they decide in a year that they no longer provide Android to third parties? I'd be looking for a plan B pretty quick. And remember , I have just spent the last year or 2 giving them all my sales data and now they are my competitors !!

      iPhone is about the whole eco-system apple built. Google might not be able to replicate that fully.

      They are a copy-cat company in everything but search/ads. I cant see how acquiring Moto will change this.

      1. eulampios

        Everyone is a copy-cat

        >>They are a copy-cat company in everything but search/ads. I cant see how acquiring Moto will change this.

        So you think that Apple is not a copy-cat company? What about OS X? Isn't it a derivative of BSD Unix? (whereas, the Linux and GNU are not derivatives but clones) Do you know how much code is stolen by Apple from FreeBSD project et al. ? BSD license permits such theft .

        When a terminal is fired on every iMac or MacBook , guess what would the command "echo $SHELL" tell you? , exactly: " /bin/bash ", that is the GNU Bourn Again Shell. That is what pretty much all GNU/Linux systems have by default.

        1. Charles Manning


          Legal; copying is not theft.

          But you miss the whole point. OSX has very little to do with the kernel underneath.

          Even though I'm a kernel developer, I don't think the kernel gives OSX its advantage.

          Apple chose xBSD because it is solid and provided the best option at the time.

          The part of OSX that people interact with could have been built on top of any kernel: Linux, xBSD or even Windows. The kernel is irrelevant. That is where Apple add value.

          While there certainly are people at Apple that work in kernel land, they are few. This is not Apple's competitive advantage.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Two different stories on the reg

    There are two different stories on the reg right now. One says the purchase of Moto was a big failure and the IP wont do jack all. The other is more positive and says it's going to put an end to the iphone.

    This isn't the first time I've seen this kind of thing happen on the reg. Seen it a few times lately on different topics.

    1. Gordon 10

      Don't have a problem

      Since both are opinion pieces not News I have no problem. Having differing views is what makes life interesting.

      1. Thought About IT

        Inconsistent though

        Wish they'd take the same approach to climate change.

        1. Ru

          Maybe no-one offered?

          Maybe you should start hawking your own balancing opinions to them.

        2. ratfox

          There's only one linkbait side to climate change

          But on this issue, both sides are linkbait, thus the two contradictory op-eds...

    2. Armando 123

      Not a big deal

      If an editor has two writers with two very different opinions on a topic, it makes sense to have each one write an article on the subject. Generates links, readers, responses, etc, also gives the impression that you're a good place for open debate, which is good for "branding".

      [BTW, is anyone else here old enough to remember when branding was something that Texans did to cattle?]

  5. This post has been deleted by its author


      What's really nonsense...

      > Well, that's one way of making Android look

      > better. I don't think it makes sense to join

      > together all the different handset makers

      >because these companies are competitors.

      ...kind of like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer.

  6. Flywithandrew

    Link bait

    Wow, talk about link baiting! Title: "google's moto move spells iPhone doom!" The article proceeds to detail the author's best guesses as to future risks to iPhone market share, none of which seem related to the moto purchase. He concludes by stating that patents - google's alleged motivation for buying moto - don't matter after all. Slapping that sensational title on this this piece is like putting lipstick on a pig.

  7. Turtle


    Florian Mueller points out that Motorola's patents didn't protect it from patent suits by Apple and Microsoft. Why will those patents be more efficacious for Google? And it would seem that some of Motorola's best patents are FRAND-encumbered and therefore not powerful weapons.

    Care to respond?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Chris007

      Title here

      From what I've been reading Motorola were pretty lax (relaxed?) about people who infringed upon their IP.

      My guess is that Google will not be that magnanimous!

      Icon: Think we know who they'll gun for first

  8. arglborps
    Thumb Down

    Owns the future market?

    Kids buy Android, so Google owns the future mobile market?

    How does your head feel so tightly inserted up your ass? If anyone then PARENTS buy cheap Android phones for their kids, DUH.

    So here's the logic of our economic mastermind: Kids buy cheap shit, because they don't have much money, so cheap shit owns ALL future markets. Yep. Mercedes, BMW, Gucchi, PRADA, Apple, Lacoste all doomed, because THE FUTURE IS CHEAP SHIT!

    Oh my god why didn't we see this coming?

    1. Gordon 10


      As far a I can see here in the UK most kids and especially girls own blackberries. Not Androids.

      1. Armando 123


        "As far a I can see here in the UK most kids and especially girls own blackberries. Not Androids."

        Yes, but those BB owners will be in jail for the rioting for, what, two weeks before they're free to cash their unemployment checks for a new phone.

        1. Yet Another Commentard


          "Yes, but those BB owners will be in jail for the rioting for, what, two weeks before they're free to cash their unemployment checks for a new phone."

          Cheques. The word, on this side of the pond, is cheques. I have just been to check.

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: Check?

            Actually, unemployment payments come in the form of Giros, not Cheques.

            1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

              Actually, Actually

              They are more usually paid direct into your bank account

            2. NogginTheNog


              I think most of them come by BACS nowadays...?

      2. Neily-boy


        That's the one truth that no one is ever supposed to repeat on technology websites!

        It's not Android. It's not iOS. Don't mention it - You'll look like a dork!

        You know how everyone wants to be in with the cool kids at school, and if anyone infers that the in-crowd are anything less than amazing, they are shunned and ridiculed?

        Once you've left school, you soon realise that those same "cool" kids were actually arseh*les and the not so cool ones, in retrospect, turned out to be the people you most admired. Yes, that's right, the ones that were capable of free thought, couldn't give a f*ck what the latest trainers were that everyone was wearing, and ended up getting the good jobs and tidy, funny, wives/husbands/partners.

        What I'm saying is let the cool kids go on about how amazing their fancy, High-Top Nike Air Jordans are and you just carry on wearing your bog standard, comfortable Adidas Sambas. Let history be the judge of which was cooler.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you missed the point

      It doesn't matter if parents or kids buy the stuff. When those kids grow up they will only have known Android and will continue to buy it.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        When I was a teenager/young man I owned a Ford Cortina. That was all my dad was willing to give me to tool around in and I had no money to buy something better. It was pretty what I knew about cars until my late mid 20s.

        Now I have a Ferrai in the garage.

        You notion is flawed.

        As someone else pointed out, my daughter had a 3310 - she uses an iPhone now.

        The yough market is (a) fickle and (b) selling them something is no guarantee of keeping them as repeat customers when their tastes become more varied and discerning.



      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I never said...

        that Matt Asay's view of long term sales of Android was right. In fact, as someone else pointed out, trying to predict sales more than a year in to the future is probably folly.

        I was merely saying that if you grew up with something you're more likely to buy it in the future. I don't think cars are a good analogy as they're too much of an investment compared to a phone that you probably get free on a contract. It certainly applies to most cheap things from brands of food through to smartphones and beyond.

        And as for the comment about owning a Nokia 3310 and now not continuing to buy Nokia: 1) do Nokia still make phones? and 2) just goes to prove the point that you can't do what Matt Asay has tried to do and claim that Androids will dominate in the future.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          But kids aren't dying to have an Android phone.

          They are, however, dying to have an iPhone. They're settling for Android because they can't afford the iPhone. But as soon as they get older and have more money, they'll buy the iPhone.

    3. Annihilator


      "Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?"

      This assumes that kids will never ever changed their mind and the market won't change at all. As kids, we were all buying Nokia. I don't see many of those kids that are now grown-ups sticking with their 3310s.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Who buys Android devices?

        > Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?

        You jest, surely?

        My (admittedly slight) experience of the market is that i<products> are bought by people who like the style and feel this is an important part, or the MOST important part of owning a phone/tablet. Those people tend to the 20-somethings, singles who have plenty of monkey, or children who have wheedled one out of their parents. For the rest, most adults just don't have the time or inclination to need, want or use most of the features of an i<thing>.

        Sure, I've got a smart phone (Android). Do I use any of it's features? Not in the slightest - it makes calls and that's all I want. Why did I get one? Simply because when my last contract expired, Android phones were the same monthly price as my old phone, so all the "smart" stuff was essentially free.

        Would I have have paid for any of it? No, since I don't use it, it has no value to me. I would suspect most adults who have grown out of bragging about their possessions are in the same position: offer extra features at no extra cost and they will say "what the hell, I'll take it". Call it a value-add and bump up the price and they'll leave it on the sales counter.

    4. Steve Crook

      It's worked well enough for Windows

      People stuck with that because they were either too afraid or too lazy to change. Perhaps some will switch, but if you've got used to android only apps, would you?

      Banks also have this form of paedophilia for the same reasons.

      1. NogginTheNog

        Windows won the business

        Windows won the business (which Apple never seriously contended for). More PCs are bought by companies than private individuals, certainly back when they cost a couple of grand each. So for a lot of people their first exposure to one was at work, and their first software may well have been 'borrowed' from work too... Windows 'won' because it became a de-facto standard: it was familiar, and provided assured compatibility with what the majority of other people (and companies) had.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Long term?

      "Android owns the future global mobile buyer."

      How on earth can you possibly predict anything more than 2-3 years away, in a market like mobile handsets?? Mobile OSes come and go, and tech moves on so fast... I'd love to see you dig out this article in 2016 and see how well Android (and iOS?) are doing against whatever is around then...

    6. Christopher Rogers


      .,.. just look at the rise of China in the world sh*t is their foundation...

  9. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Which is it now?

    Wasn't it an article only today on El Reg that spoke about how, yes yes, Androids are shipping like there's no tomorrow but they're not actually *selling*? Or am I reading too many tech sites and can't keep them straight anymore?

    Apparently those precious Androids are starting to fill up the warehouses, whereas Apple can't keep up with demand.

    I'm no fanboi arguing one way or the other - I would just really, really love to get some basic, straight facts and not the biased opinion-mongering from both sides.

    If anything I expect some form of duopoly to emerge, with mass versus boutique appeal. Yeah, Apple might have to get used to not be the highest or second highest valued company on the play. As if that would have outlived Saint Jobs anyway.

    1. fandom

      It may be both

      Actually this article mentions the unsold stockpiles of android tablets and how manufactures will need to discount them a lot to be able to move them.

      But anyway, even in the same medium different authors have different opinions. Why not?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm not sure how a sustainable Android tablet market can be built on discounting unsold stock. It sucks money away from R and D and leaves the vendors even less competitive against Apple. Their current strategy is following the netbook path of 'me too' substandard products towards total irrelevance. Andrew pointed out yesterday the problem with Android tablets is that they look like iPads but they don't work as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There is a reason Android tablets are rubbish

          Because they are running on software designed for phones, ice cream sandwich should be a giant leap forward in Android tablets.

          I also don't buy that Android got popular because of price, almost everyone I know has moved to Android from Apple. Not one moved because of price, in fact in a lot of cases it wasn't actually cheaper, high end Android phones are often MORE expensive.

          Things like Flash, background apps, more carriers, freedom to install what you like, customisability are what is selling Android phones.

          1. vic 4

            RE: high end Android phones are often MORE expensive.

            Thats because they cost more to make and are better spec'd than iPhones, just because they have to spend less on the OS doesn't mean the hardware costs any less

          2. Boothy

            @ johnny19

            I've had a similar experience with people moving from iPhones to Android.

            In 2009 I was the first in my group of friends and colleagues to move to Android (a HTC Hero).

            I'm a techie, and the iPhone just seemed too locked down and inflexible to me, so I went for Android instead, despite all my smart phone using friends and colleagues at the time all having iPhones.

            My friends very quickly learnt about Android from me, and all of them became converts. Multitasking, install what you want, don't like the email or SMS apps, or the keyboard, or the browser, so install new ones. etc. etc.

            Today, not one of them has an iPhone, they all moved to Android one by one. Although some did buy iPod touches, as they still liked them as music players, and some had large iTunes libraries.

            Not one of these Android devices is a budget phone, and cost wasn't part of the equation. I've got a Desire S now, my other friends have various models, but all are higher end HD versions, 1GHz processors, Tegra 2 chip sets etc. etc.

            About 2 months ago I bought an Asus Transformer tablet. Since then two of my friends have also bought one. (I should be on commission!)

          3. Asgard


            @johnny19, "I also don't buy that Android got popular because of price, almost everyone I know has moved to Android from Apple."

            When I look at my technically minded friends and colleagues, I would totally agree with your assessment that its not price that is driving the uptake of Android phones.

            When I look at my non-technically minded friends and family, I would totally disagree with your assessment that it most definitely is price that is driving the uptake of *cheaper* Android phones.

            I would also bet the vast majority of us who read this website would fall into that first group of people.

            My point is however to highlight there are two entirely different market segments, both of which see reasons to buy Android and they do that for *different* reasons. However what is important is that both are finding reasons to buy some kind of Android phone.

            Now as for tablets, currently they only appeal to the premium end of the market due to their high prices, but as soon as their prices fall, more people will want to buy them as well. Its like I said yesterday, its simply the old economic principle of the supply and demand curve. As price drops, product demand increases and that economic principle has worked like that for centuries, regardless of what products we are talking about.

            Also we all know that as mass production increases that reduces manufacturing costs which in turn allow even lower price points to become possible. The point is, all of this is driving prices down and so helping to increasing the widespread acceptance of Android devices. Android wasn't a mass market 2 years ago, it was a niche market, but now Android is rapidly becoming mass market and its doing that by appealing to multiple market segments at the same time, each for their own reasons for buying the devices.

  10. azimutha

    Are you kidding?

    Too bad Motorola's patents are mostly old and mostly worthless. Neither they nor Google have much to stack against any one of their competitors, let alone all of them. Yeah, maybe like the Microsoft of old, Google will get away shoving crap down the throats of those too cheap or dumb to know any better, but I'd still put my money on Apple.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      good bet!

      why go after cheap and dumb when expensive and dumb is so profitable....

  11. MacRat

    Strange Kids

    "kids buy Android ("It's cheap!")"

    You hang around strange kids.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Predictions, predictions

    These are crazy times, and the only truth is that none of us know how any of this will end up.

    Naturally the tech pundits do their damndest to have us think they 'know' what they are talking about. They don't.

    Save this opinion piece and read it again in eighteen months time. Then we'll see.

  13. Bruce Hoult


    Man who sells middleware for Android predicts Android will win.

  14. jarjarbinks

    Valid points

    I agree with what you say here. It's a darn shame Apple, the largest company in the world now (or most profitable, richest?) has stopped to such anti-competitive crap to try to keep it's throne. I can't imagine how many lawyers are needed to roll through tens of thousands of patents. It sickens me though that they were able to actually stop Samsung based purely on that it looks similar to the ipad. It has different hardware, different screen, different OS.. but because it looks similar.. not even exactly..but similar, they won. I don't understand how that is possible. I wish someone could explain to me the specific points how Apple defeated Samsung in this case? As well, there are several other tablets including the Xoom that look very similar too.. so are all those automatically banned now too?

    I too agree apple makes good products.. but because of their business practices, at least from what I've been reading and/or talking to people, more and more people are shunning apple. Not everyone of course.. but many that would be buying their products are. As a developer, I will not develop for iPhone, period. I don't like that I must buy a Mac, must pay $100, and then hope after potentially months of development using Objective-C of all languages, that apple likes my app enough to approve it. Then if they do, I have to hope they decide not to ban it for no apparent reason and if they do, just suck it up and live with it. It's pure crap. I don't want to support a company that acts like an 800 pound bully.

    More so, I continue to see article after article about various tablets, how they are ok, but aren't near as good as an ipad. I have an Asus Transformer and I gotta say, this thing works. I also own an iPad (the last apple product I'll buy until they change their ways). It's a great product. But all the articles and posts that say how difficult Android 3 is.. I don't get it. My wife, my dad, my mom, my kids, have no problem at all using it. They turn it on, and touch an app to run it. Is it any different than an ipad? Well..yes.. it offers a lot more in some areas, like notifications, live widgets with real-time updates and such that you can make use of. Do you have to do these things? Nope. You can use an android tablet just like an ipad.. barring a few things (like netflix, hulu and skype). Android tablets have been out for what.. 4 months now, in one year from now let's see where things are with apps.

    The last thing I'll say is all the banter about how hardware does not sell which is why iPhone 5 is rumored to be only a dual-core phone while quad-core phones are coming out on Android around the same time. I recall a war with Mhz (then Ghz) between AMD and Intel. AMD for a while was kicking Intel's butt in speed and price. When they switched to a non-Mhz naming scheme, they went down hill. People liked that Intel was 1Ghz, 1.5Ghz, 2Ghz, meanwhile AMD was not specifying speeds but a naming scheme that was "comparable" to the Intel chip speeds. These were every day customers that were not geeks, but just liked the idea of owning a 2Ghz cpu because it was "faster". Even if the AMD was cheaper and faster, it didn't come across that way. My point is, there is a lot of talk now that Apple is not releasing more powerful hardware than Android devices, that they don't need's not about the hardware, it's about the experience. To some degree I agree with that.. but when more capable games and apps come out on Android because they are easier to code (Java is after all easier to work with than Objective-C and there are way more Java developers) and much more powerful devices coming soon so how long will an out dated ipad 2 (or ipad 3 if the rumors are true) last compared to quad core or more, with more ram and all the extras like SD, HDMI, USB and more?

    There are always going to be fans of both products, and frankly, I wish all the "apple is best, google will die" and vice versa would stop. It's ridiculous. The only way Apple could win is to do what they are doing now with all the patent lawsuits, but these will probably take years to play out and by then Android will have proliferated far too much to just ban it completely. I'd much rather see innovation.. let them compete on features.. functionality.. design. I am really looking forward to NFC and Barometer sensors on my devices, something from what I can tell none of the apple devices will have, although rumors about iPhone 5 indicate NFC.. we'll see. But new APIs, new functionality.. that's what we need and we need it from both sides. Let's get back to making the devices really cool and "I can't wait for it." attitude instead of trying to use lawyers to completely stop or at the very minimum worry potential manufacturers like Samsung about using Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You don't stay at the top by playing nice...

      ... You play hard, fast, and brutal. See Microsoft's dominance in the 90's... they bought what they could, sued what they couldn't get and earned a rep as being 'The Evil Empire'. Apple's just following the same strategy, and Google would too, when they eventually reach the point where some whippersnapper of a company goes for its slice of the pie.

      You lot need to wake up and smell the coffee... business is cut-throat. It is not 'let's play nice, ok'.

  15. Rupert Stubbs

    Desperately spinning...

    Gotta love the argument that because Android tablets aren't selling, this will force their manufacturers to sell them at a loss - and suddenly they will become incredibly popular! Of course - Apple are doooomed! Let's all sell everything at a loss, and we'll all become rich.

    Seriously, why does this Google shill get a column here? He might as well be saying "We welcome today's news, which demonstrates Googles commitment etc."...

  16. sleepy


    Don't be evil - haha. Google's whippersnapper CEO is sailing into a world of hurt. They've built their business too heavily on stolen IP (your privacy, everyone's copyright, GPL violation), for too long, and mobile is where it's coming unstuck. The carriers currently push out Android phones, because they are cheap and tick marketing boxes. But apart from geeks, the customers don't actually use Android internet features. Android tablets are stuck in the channel. Non-geeks don't buy them at all. This is a replay of Microsoft with music. Android is Playsforsure, and now Moto is Zune, which Google thinks Android partners will be happy about.

    Apple wasn't worried by Moto patents; the ones everyone needs are FRAND-encumbered, so Apple can license on Fair and Reasonable terms. But Apple is having to use litigation to get a fair price. Just as they did with Nokia. The deal will get done, and Apple will pay the same as everyone else, just as with Nokia.

    See what Android looked like nine months after iPhone was launched: Google and licensees definitely copied iPhone to get traction in the market.

    Google have a dismissive attitude to the law. They control Android release by violating GPL. They claim patents are worthless and anticompetitive, yet their entire business was based on one (pagerank), and they pay billions to buy patents intending to use them as offensive weapons. Next they will probably subsidise a Moto tablet to get traction in the market. Then antitrust legislation will be against them too.

    Google's greed and disregard of intellectual property is going to trip them up quite soon now. Buying MMI is desperation, not dominance. And MMI may actually cost them $19 billion, because they use the "double Irish" tax dodge to avoid paying US taxes. They'll have to pay those taxes to bring $12B into the US.

    1. Gordon 10

      Nice post

      With lots of good stuff that I agree with - shame your ranty style makes you come across as an anti-google fanboi - it detracts from the valid points you make about googles attitude to any lP but their own.

    2. fandom

      Works both ways

      And now it's Apple aping Android:

      And ugly truth nobody will tell you, except for me of course, is that everyone copies the competition, and I do mean everyone. It's called progress.

      1. PJI

        Dreadful imitation

        And they all copy each other, blatantly: did you notice how similarly they all make and receive telepnone calls, SMS, MMS, have got calendars and notes? It's dreadful plagiarism. Every mobile 'phone designer should have a unique way of communicating. Android did a blatant copy of Apple who copied Nokia .. (and some would say none of them have done it very well).

        All got speakers, microphones, cameras - how dare they adopt good ideas from each other, nearly as bad as cars in general having four wheels, a steering wheel, brakes, gearbox .... And do n't get me going about the similarity of PC hardware, houses, farms ....

  17. blueprint

    Wishful thinking

    It's always better when comment and analysis is given by someone without a vested interest in one side of the argument. This isn't an insightfully constructed piece about Android and iPhone, Google and Apple, and the patent wars, it's simply wishful thinking.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    litigation silliness

    this is a case wherein anyone can point a finger to apple and say "he started it first"

    it also makes one wonder about all the bile apple have been spewing about being this cool leading edge company that survives just by building and selling the best kit. apple has just told world + dog "you know what? we don't build the best tablets, Samsung does".

    the way i see it is apple cashed in on some kind of jingoistic american bullshit, and the rest of the world simply followed. the first thing i noticed when i played with an ipad was the "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China" logo.

    as the saying goes, "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but ...."

  19. Arctic fox

    I think that it is *possible* that as far as the tablet market is concerned......

    .............we *may* be ignoring the (possible) 500 lb gorilla in the room because all the (entirely understandable) focus on Google/Android and Apple/iOS. In less than a year (as seems increasingly likely) Win8 will be coming to the tablet party. If we take as a hypothetical assumption for the purposes of discussion that MS *do* succeed in creating a *genuinely* touch-friendly version of Windows that does not kill your battery then what effect will *that* have on the market? I think that the current assumption that this is simply a war between Mountain View and Cupertino and that Redmond will remain irrelevant in the tablet space may, just may, prove to be a mistake. Given what a *seriously* pony os Win7 is as a tablet/touch UI os it is fairly amazing that they, believe or not, actually have 5% of the tablet market today! I think that any assumptions that this will remain a two-way fight are rather premature.

    1. Armando 123

      A lot of ifs

      Given all your premises, you make a good case, but there are quite a few if clauses in it.

      Remember, MS dominated the PC market because they sold to businesses and people bought their first computer based on what they had at work. Tablets are going to be different. First, most workplaces don't use tablets and those that do probably aren't using MS. Second, an iPad is $500 in 2011 vs a PC being $2000 in 1982. Adjust for inflation/wages, and we're talking a tablet being 1/10 or less the investment of someone's first PC.

      1. Arctic fox

        @Armando 123 RE "A lot of ifs"

        Of course there are "ifs" in any discussion of future possibilities - I do not claim to have a more advanced crystal ball than the next guy. I would point out however that the reasons why the business market is not yet tapped into in any *serious* way is there is not currently available an os that is *both* touch friendly *and* a serious os. *If* Apple had developed a touch-friendly full version of OSX for tablets then that would be a different situation. If Win8 is implemented properly (yes, there's a caveat because I am not any kind of fanboy and I do not deal in certainties) then it will be the first touch friendly *full productivity* os in the tablet space. Then all that remains to be seen is a. Does the market, business and/or home want it? b. Will the OEMs actually produce kit worth running it on? All kinds of unknowns, rather like life in general.

    2. redniels

      my thoughts exactly

      yup. you're right. I couldn't put it better. come on guys:

      Just keep ignoring MS! winpho 7 does not sell.. so MS is old news! wait... what? so Oracle too, is old news? and MS just lies down on the floor and dies? just like that?


      mark my words: they will BUY themselves their relevance. they did it before, they will do it again, hell... the wheels are already in motion. winpho 7.5 is coming, with skype integrated, the xbox badge, finally localised, finally being able to sell it in german, dutch, french, spanish , italian, portuguese, chinese, japanese etc. will make a huge difference. next up: Win8 on ARM/Intel ...everywhere.

      back on the subject: the Motorola patents are nice.... but where do they protect Google from the Oracle Litigation? that's right: nowhere. Oracle doesn't play in the communication (handset) field. there are several thousand sticks in the Motorola inventory, but none is really usable to whip Oracle's ass. that gnat just will not go away.

      Also it will be hard to use them against MS, same reason as Oracle: MS is mostly software, not hardware. Moto's patents are almost all about hardware.. so they can only really be used against Apple and Nokia... and the past big three in comm's (Ericsson, Nokia and Moto) all played nicely among themselves in the past: they all cross licensed each others stuff like crazy in the 90-ies/early 00's.

      which makes them only really handy against Apple...

      12.5 billion just to irritate they must hate them very much.

  20. Daverk

    End the Antagonism

    When are they going to end this stupid spat?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the usual

    "There's a reason I'm typing this on a MacBook Air and researched this article using my iPad and iPhone."

    There is indeed

  22. Syren Baran

    Google spells Apple doom?

    Nah, Apples lawyers seem to be doing that nicely.

    Faking evidence in court is'nt a trivial accusation, and that seems to be the case.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      What, Apple lie?

      Here's the Apple design strategy:

      1) Make a generic product that is very dear.

      2) Slap an "i" on the front of the name.

      3) Claim it's original.

      Samsung are being accused of reverse engineering this strategy, hence producing the original i dear.

      1. aThingOrTwo


        Apple's products only look generic after the shelves are flooded with products 'inspired' by them. Just more open! Without the drawbacks! Although most of these products completely miss what makes the Apple products appeal in the first place, just like you have.

        Phones didn't look like the iPhone form factor until the iPhone.

        Tablets didn't look like the iPad form factor until the iPad.

        PC laptops didn't look like MacBook Air until the MacBook Air.

        1. Jedit Silver badge

          "Tablets didn't look lke that before the iPad"

          Not to mention the portable video screen used by Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The iPad wasn't an innovative design at all; it is the obvious design for the job it does. If you do your research, you will also see that the original iPhone didn't look too dissimilar to the HTC Touch and more significantly the LG Prada, which was released several months before the iPhone.

          (As for your comments on the MacBook Air, I shall ignore them as the blatant fanboi-ism that they are.)

          1. aThingOrTwo

            Intel Ultrabooks.

            It has nothing to do with being a "blatant" fan of anything.

            It seems you completely missed the move by intel to push the new "Ultrabooks" which they see as making up 40% of the the consumer notebook laptop market by 2010.

            Quote from the Wall Street Journal*

            “To date if you wanted that sleek design you had to buy a Mac,’ said Greg Welch, director of Intel’s Ultrabook group, in an interview last week. ‘There are people who want a PC in that form factor”


            Phone generally came in all shapes and sizes before the iPhone. Sliders, flip, keyboards etc. The N95 and Razr were big phones before the iPhone. Now look at the market and nearly all phones take the slim, slab form factor with large, Multi-touch capacitive screens.


            It comes to something when the iPad has to be compared to a science fiction fantasy. That wasn't a real product made in the real world with real cost and engineering constraints. Although there was not much of a tablet market before the iPad, the fact remains the few products available didn't look like the iPad. Not in the same way the HP TouchPad looks like an iPad.

  23. Randall Shimizu

    Google hardware

    It's hard to say at this point if Google will hold on to the Motorola's hardware. Google could decide to sell tablet at or slightly above it's manufacturing costs to gain market share. The problem is whether the FTC will see this as unfair competition. Since manufacturing & design is not Google's core business this will present serious challenges for them.

  24. jai

    Kids and the future

    so, kids are buying Android phones now because they're cheap

    And in the future, they'll grow up and then they'll still be buying Android? That's an incredible weak argument. Not least, because all of those "soccer dads" as you call them, when they were younger, would have owned Nokias and Ericssons when they were kids. And that really worked well for those two companies this year didn't it?

    (plus, would it hurt you so much to proof read your article before submitting it? Just a little bit, to catch the typos? kthxbye)

  25. jai

    in contrast

    funny though, your article appears to contradict Mr Orlowski's article from earlier today which suggests Google's purchase was pointless

  26. Gary Riches

    ... Booooooo

    You mean just like how the cheap Android tablets beat the iPad 1 last year?

  27. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Graphs are all very well

    BUT - the arrival of Android, and the availability of cheaper Blackberries (Curve) changed the market out of all recognition.

    We no longer have the concept of a premium mobile phone - just basic, and smartphones. OK, so Nokia has been the biggest loser in that battle, but would the people buying cheap PAYG or £10pm Androids have ever been in the market for a £35pm Iphone? Unlkely.

    It's like going back 100 years and Mercedes Benz complaining about the new Fords - we don't recognise them as direct competitors any more, even though the cars do the same basic task.

    Paris Hilton, because she's premium, but performs the same basic task.

  28. Christoph Hechl
    Thumb Up

    Thank you.

    That last paragraph - companies should be forced to print it in every commercial and on every product they make.

  29. Jah

    Good Analysis, perhaps Google will attack as well

    I think with Apple, the best defence is attack, as Nokia has already proved. Google should be able to sue Apple until Apple agrees to some cross-licensing agreements.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Die, Apple, Die!

    Well, If Google can and chooses to use motorola's patent pool to take on Apple, it'll be one to watch. Due to the ongoing lawsuit between apple and moto, now technically apple is engaged in a lawsuit with google directly. Bring on the popcorn.

    Still, Apple had it coming, what with patenting a round edged square box with a button and then going after Samsung like they did.

  31. Kenny Millar

    Missing the point somewhat

    It's not about shipments!

    If you ship 1000x more phones than apple, but your purchasers don't use them for anything more than SMS and MSN then apple still wins. People buy android phones because they are cheap, yes, but they are much less usable. Google needs to get the whole owner experience up to the same level of satisfaction as apple. They can't do that while the platform is fragmented.

  32. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Well said

    Apple, and it is, largely Apple, have created a situation that will result in more expensive and less well featured products.

    More expensive because someone has to pay for all of the litigation and re-engineering to work around patent restrictions.

    Less well featured because some restrictions cannot be worked around.

    And nobody should be so naive to believe that Apple won't find themselves hoist by their own petard. There are almost bound to be features in Apple products that are covered by competitor's patents.

    The consumer will be the ultimate loser here, the only winners being the patent lawyers.

    1. A J Stiles

      Not quite

      "some restrictions cannot be worked around" -- that should never, ever happen. A patent is supposed to cover *one* means to an end. If a patent covers an end in itself, it is invalid, and needs to be challenged.

      What we desperately need is an IP bonfire -- a mass invalidation of patents and an extension to the Fair Dealing provisions of copyright law.

    2. stuff and nonesense

      #numbers and digits

      The US Patent Office has created this situation. It allows software patents.

      Code copyright is fine (there is more than one way to skin a cat) but patenting a function, no matter how it is coded, is wrong. (I wish I had a patent on the original sort routines)

      All the major US Tech companies are guilty of this to some extent.

      Apple sued Samsung under Trade Dress. Imagine buying a GM car that looked just like an existing Ford or a BMW that was to all intents and purposes outwardly identical to an existing Mercedes.

      BTW I have heard salesmen in a UK 'phone shop say to a parent and child "It looks like an iPhone and works like an iPhone - it's just cheaper" about the Samsung Galaxy. The kid wanted an iPhone... That's the reasoning (to my mind) behind the Apple lawsuit(s).

  33. Steve 149

    I'm not so sure

    So iPhones are doomed? Well all car owners aspire to own a Ford/ Vauxhall/ Nissan/ etc. That's why Audi/ Mercedes/ BMW Porsche/ Ferrari/ Aston have disappeared...

    1. Rattus Rattus

      The car analogies don't really fit

      Fashion analogies are much more appropriate in this case. People with more money than sense buy expensive designer label jeans in order to show them off. This is the Apple market.

      Other people who don't care about showing off the latest expensive shiny gear would instead buy plain jeans that offer the same function but don't have the expensive designer label, such as a half-eaten piece of fruit. This is the Android market.

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A much better written article...

      Let me guess. You agree with Matt's viewpoint and disagree with Andrew's ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: much better written article

      "which just seems to be a knee jerk opinion on what would have been researched and thought through by the intelligent people at Google!"

      It's generally been reported that the Motorola purchase was rushed through in five weeks, and the approach was made Google lost the Novell patents auction.

      Perhaps paying nearly three times what the latter cost was the smart move, but we’re going to see about that.

      1. Paul Shirley

        thats 1/2 the price/patent of the Nortell deal

        Paying 3x more for 6x more patents and getting a business thrown in on the side doesn't seem much of a mistake. Particularly with Microsoft trying to buy the same business, for altogether less pleasant reasons.

        Doesn't hurt hat Microsoft will now be paying patent license fees to Google ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: thats 1/2 the price/patent of the Nortell deal

          "Paying 3x more for 6x more patents and getting a business thrown in on the side doesn't seem much of a mistake. Particularly with Microsoft trying to buy the same business, for altogether less pleasant reasons

          Doesn't hurt hat Microsoft will now be paying patent license fees to Google ;)"

          I was responding to a comment that Google's move was completely well-thought out and that the people at the company are so intelligent that nothing, but nothing, can go wrong with the deal.

          As I say, this buy-out appears, on the basis of reports, to have been rushed through with two CEOs dealing with directly together – it might all go swimmingly, but the deal was struck in an incredibly short time. Additionally, as I say, the approach was made *after* Google lost the Novell patent auction – again, it might go well but when taken into account with the timeframe, things do look a little hurried and reactive.

          Although it’s been reported that Microsoft was eying up Motorola, the company had been trying to flog off the mobile end of things for two years or so – it’s not as if people have been tripping over to buy to the company. Again, Google might have made a great deal, or this is more of a knee-jerk reaction than the OP was claiming.

          As to the value of the patents, as I say, time will tell – at this stage, it’s far too early to say for sure. I’ve seen nothing convincing to suggest that Microsoft are going to have to dig deep in its pockets or that these patents are worth buying Motorola for, but I’m hedging my bets, rather than insisting that one company is smarter than another.

  35. Magnus_Pym

    Not patents, lawsuits

    Apple and Microsoft have been using patents to attack Android (and Linux) for a long time, They have to it's their only weapon against good free software. They have, so far, only attacked indirectly and Google has been criticised for not backing the hardware manufactures.

    It's like the battle has been raging far out to sea out of reach of Googles coastal forts. Well Google has just bought a battleship and is going to sail right into the battle zone. If Apple or Microsoft or whoever launch another oblique suit against Android Google can, and I suspect will wade in.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not so sure

    So iPhones are doomed? Well all car owners aspire to own a Ford/ Vauxhall/ Nissan/ etc. That's why Audi/ Mercedes/ BMW Porsche/ Ferrari/ Aston have disappeared...


      Fanboy silliness

      > That's why Audi/ Mercedes/ BMW Porsche/ Ferrari/ Aston have disappeared...

      Apple is comparable to none of these.

      They are a Ford with a slightly dressed up outer body and lawn furniture for seats.

      That's why they need to sue the competition.

  37. rahul

    Way to miss the point...

    ...Apple is not just building great devices; they are also building a (highly) profitable closed ecosystem.

    Google may put android on 10 devices for every one Apple device, but Apple is also building a high content base for content consumption devices.

    Android fragmentation is preventing this type of content buildup. Google may start purchasing and licensing content soon, but Apple is clearly the master of this game, and locks in consumers and vendors alike.

    Apple's moves are always multi-fold; they squeeze profits from every level in the product strategy, including manufacturing, distributing, hardware profits, software profits, content profits, etc. They can easily (especially considering their current cash surplus) forgo one avenue of profit long enough to make it unviable for other entrants, then resume where they left off. The fact that they have not done so yet only shows that they consider their position very stable.

    Cheap android devices are available, but any device that has near iPad capabilities is already pinched on price. Those that are cheap, don't have the performance (which is why Angry Birds is routinely patched to work on various sub-par Android devices). This also leads to IP theft, piracy and content oriented revenue loss.

    Current content providers will clearly prefer the Apple platform, since DRM protections, while not foolproof, are clearly more than what Android offers.

    For every one tech-oriented geeko who prefers an open platform, there are atleast a dozen non-techy types who don't even understand the term "walled garden".

    The regular innovations of Apple ensures that they have a steady stream of new devices; the media promotes these devices; and the old devices do not die, but have a resale value. So, while the consumer may change the device, all that happens is that Apple gains a new consumer, for both old and new content (as far as capability allows).

    Google's move may be a smart one, and may even generate enough revenue to subsidize it's purchase, but it is clearly far from being an Apple killer.

  38. bob's hamster

    Missing the point on Apple losing market dominance

    I always enjoy reading Matt Asay's articles, although I usually don't agree with alot of his arguments. This seems to contradict another item on El Reg which reckons that the patents Motorola holds are not particularly relevant to the Mobile phone market.

    Anyway, one thing Matt seems to ignore is that while Android manufacturers might make great products at very affordable price points, that isn't Apple's game. They have the resources to be a great innovator; don't forget they pretty much started/kick started the smartphone mass market, and tablet markets. It is inevitable that over time they will lose market share to "me too" products, but they will just move on to the next new market, dominate for a few years until they start to lose market share to other cheaper rival products following them, and then move on again.

  39. exitsec

    Litigation costs

    Perhaps it would be informative to put up another graph on the number of lawsuits and the amount of money they're spending on Lawyers per company?

  40. louis walsh's toilet

    it will come around again..

    what we are witnessing is the beginning of the apple slump, exactly the same as happened with pc's - cheaper, faster models flood the market and apple looks slow and expensive and their response is to increase prices - the mac mini is £549 - that's their entry level pc.

    sadly apple haven't learned.

    i've had 5 macs and 4 ipods and used mac os for 15 years - but i had enough when prices went up, they started selling macs in tesco and argos, they allowed windows on macs, they refused blu-ray on macs and their actual pc marketshare is flat.

    i can see where this is going - it has happened before and it will happen again. give it 3 years.

    1. Gordon 10


      People have been predicting a new apple slump since the IPod came out yet they have successfully launched an entire Eco system off the back of it transferring their halo to two different pieces of hardware.

      Good luck with your prediction - I wouldn't put money on it.

    2. Dave 142


      yes, I'm sure Apple are very sad they haven't taken your advice.

    3. Armando 123

      An old motto seems appropriate here

      Apple: Successfully going out of business since 1981

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Gartner - seriously??? Historically as accurate as S&P, particularly with regards to the mobile market.

    But overall, I agree - the iPad lead is unsustainable, and falling component costs mean that someone will be able to produce an effective web browsing tablet at a fraction of the cost.

    The elephant in the room, though, is software. f Apple had launched the iPad without first building the iOS development ecosystem with the iPod and iPhone, I suspect it would have been an expensive flop, or niche success. Like WebOS right now, it would have been trapped in the cycle of low of software due to low sales.

    Android, of course, has massive device sales - but Google are still struggling to build a software market that can sustain a comparable level of commercial development to Apple (and like Apple's strategic errors, this one is caused by Google's own bias against paid content).

    And that is what is stuffing Android tablets - a lack of 'killer' software, like Garageband or The Elements - and it is going to take a long time before device numbers become large enough to incidentally create a large enough market.

    That's Apple's real runaway lead.

  42. StChom


    Typical of the mislead by buzz dominant opinion we can see around.

    iOS and its terrestrial avatars will long survive this passing news. Apple is on a whole different plane, the king of its integrated business model. It can thrive in a minority position, has done this for 35 years.

    Google is in a Microsoftisation process. Low added value. Sustainable by ubiquity. Google "Open" = MS "Standard"...

    Its trajectory is to collide with its true master.

    Motorola is to Google what Nokia is to Microsoft. Except Microsoft had the intelligence not to acquire the whole mess... Google was desperate. Motorola too. And the latter excited the appetite of the former, by first menacing to join the WinMo cronies, then to sue for patent royalties its Android siblings.

    Ubiquity is their game. By definition, there is only one place around for that.

    Apple, as usual, is just the small mammal under the ferns...

    1. Ru

      It can thrive in a minority position

      No. No, it really can't, and did not. It wilted, and it took some serious management shake up to drag it kicking and screaming into relevance again.

      i will say though, Google "Open" = MS "Standard" is an excellent observation. I shall steal it.

  43. Michael Habel

    I take it that Mr. Asay hasn't bothered to shop for Phines then

    In other words implying that Android is cheep. LOL WHAT A RIOT!

    Any decent Droid Phone HTC Desire (HD) or Galaxy S / S2 is gonna set you back as much as any iCrap device.

    And I'm not about to be dictated to by some iDork in a Turtleneck about the thing I can AND CAN NOT DO on my device.

    Can your iCrap play Matroska, how about ogg and the Daddy of 'em all Adobe Flash?

    I didn't chose Droid cause it was cheeper, I chose is cause IT IS BETTER!

    Mores the pity that Nokia sold out to the like of Redmond, cause the N9 could have been the Device that saved Nokia, As a Consumer I would love to have such a device, and assuming that Nokia did there Homework before hand, then it's unlikely that MeeGo would be so gimped by all the BS that Crapple are throwing around right now.

    Hopefully when Samy meet Crapple in Court the Judge will have the decency to find in Samsungs' favor and tell his Hollyness to get stuffed!

    Why U no have evil Jobs no more?

    1. PhilBack

      Jailbreak or become a dev

      And yes, I can play MKV files all I want on my iPad2.

      1. Mr Floppy

        or get Buzz player

        No need to jailbreak. It plays MKV and OGG fine just fine. Well, it struggles with 1080P MKV's but I think that's just the limitation of the device.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with engineers being overpaid?

    Still much better than lawyers being overpaid.

    Why are there no Saint Bill and Saint Steve icons when you need them?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Android is not cheap.

    Android (on a comparable handset) is not cheap - a Samsung Galaxy IIS or something near-equivalent to an iPhone 4 is just under £500 SIM free - i.e. basically the same as an iPhone 4.

    Sure there are cheaper Android handets but some of the 'really cheap' Android handsets are dreadful and can in-no-way be compared to an iPhone 4.

    1. Dave 142


      The phones that make up the big chunk of that huge market share Android has are the cheap ones, not the iPhone level ones.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Androids broader price range + customer inertia->long term trends

        Yes, with Android you can pick almost any price and find a phone, as low as £40 for PAYG today.

        With Apple you can choose between expensive, more expensive or 2nd hand (but still expensive).

        Much cheaper to buy into Android, once in its such a PIA switching platforms you'll stay. Plenty of high end Android devices when or if you feel the need to move upmarket. This is the real threat to Apple, inertia will drive high end sales in the long term.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Android is not cheap

      "Android (on a comparable handset) is not cheap - a Samsung Galaxy IIS or something near-equivalent to an iPhone 4 is just under £500 SIM free - i.e. basically the same as an iPhone 4."

      But you can get it free on a contract - e.g. for £30 per month for 24 months. With an iPhone, you tend to have to pay for the handset (and on some contracts this would be £199-300) and over the length of a contract, an Android device, even the most expensive sime-free, is a heck of a lot cheaper.

  46. mhenriday

    «The sooner we get back to competing on product quality, innovation, and price,

    the better.» Amen, Mr Asay ! But as long as the patent and copyright situation is as fouled up as it is - primarily, but hardly exclusively in the US - the situation is most unlikely to improve. (I note that Mr Asay and/or the Reg have copyrighted his article - I only hope that my quotation from it above will be deemed «fair use» and that I shan't be dunned by «overpriced attorneys»....)


  47. Furbian

    Am I missing something...

    Yes there are lot of cheap Android phones out there... but how does that 'doom' the iPhone exactly? It's like saying the huge take up Windows 7 dooms Mac laptop and desktops. It hasn't has it, especially over the last ten years?

    Oh and like the gentleman typing his doom of iPhone using a pair (?) of Apple devices, this has been typed on a Windows 7 running HP envy 17, but I do have an iPhone 4. Like both!

  48. Anonymous Coward

    "Android hasn't won because it's better"

    "Android hasn't won because it's better, it's won because it's cheaper"

    Well, in part, but I think Android is winning because:

    -Yes, the hardware is cheaper and so are most of the apps.

    -If there's "an app for that" on an iPhone, there's 30 apps for that on Android, and most of them are free.

    -It's a (mostly) open platform, and while Google doesn't condone rooting your phone, they look the other way and don't especially discourage it.

    -No iTunes. Repeat: No iTunes

    -It's shameful that Apple is so worried about you monkeying with your phone and DRM that even now there's no SD card slot on iPhones or iPads.

    -And yes, the younger generation will tend to keep buying Android, just like cigarette companies trying to get the young populace hooked on their particular brand.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Apple doesn't care if you jailbreak your phone. But you can't expect help once you do, just like fitting a mod chip in your console is going to kill the warranty.

      Much of the backlash of jailbreaking has been due to it then being used to unlock the phone or run pirate software.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        @Giles Jones

        "Much of the backlash of jailbreaking has been due to it then being used to unlock the phone or run pirate software."

        How is this a bad thing? For starters, I see no moral problems whatsoever with unlocking a phone.

        If I were to also choose to run pirated software then that's between me and my conscience. My technology should have no say whatsoever in any moral decisions I choose to make.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    If only.

    "The sooner we get back to competing on product quality, innovation, and price"

    That's the problem - Android and the other smartphone manufactuers are mainly interesting in trying to copy the iPhone / iPad. INNOVATE don't COPY.


      If only... as if.

      > ...INNOVATE don't COPY.

      When I buy an Android device, I don't buy it because it is some Apple clone.

      I buy it specifically because of how it is NOT an Apple clone.

      I buy non-Apple devices for the things that Apple refuses to do.

      Fanboys are just sticking their heads in the sand here.

      1. majorursa
        Thumb Up


        These are the main misconceptions behind the whole Apple vs Android debate:

        1- people do not buy an Android because it's cheaper; the best-selling Android phones and pads are at least as expensive as the Apple ones

        2- people aren't 'lured' into buying an Android in spite of an Apple 'obviously' being better; for many practical ends an Android is the better choice and people know that. Maybe 2 years ago iOS had some advantage in souplesse and screen-response but not anymore. You dont buy a 500 euro device without comparing the options.

        3- people don't 'fall' for a similar but badly designed Android and give up all the good things Apple has to offer; they HATE iTunes and all what its stands for. They HATE the fact that an iOS device will always be owned by mr Jobs. They hate the fact that only once every year a not-so-big update comes to the market.

        On a side-note, where does the so-called advertisement business come in? I have been on Android for almost 2 years now and have yet to see targeted adds on it, except for some in-app banners when the app is free or unregistered.

        1. aThingOrTwo

          Really, these are misconceptions?

          Point 2 - the issue of lack of hardware accelerated graphical compositing system on Android is still a problem. Single core Windows Phone devices are smoother and more responsive than high end Android phones. I tried both, I noticed.


          "Android seems to have made the decision early on that they wouldn’t force their manufacturing partners to include a GPU. This decision made total sense back in the pre-iPhone days, but now it’s causing pain, as even the new hardware acceleration in Android 3.0 is limited by the original software-based compositing system."

          Point 3 are things that most people don't care about. Or if they did they would equally be concerned about:

          - Android lacking any proper sync solution to get music/video onto their phones, without relying on a assortment of not very good third party tools.

          - Google keeping so much information on them.

          - Not getting updates at all.

          An android enthusiast attacking another platform over updates is the funniest thing I've read in a while! Windows Phone Mango coming to all Windows Phones (regardless of network/geographical location) this autumn. iOS 5 coming to every iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 this autumn (regardless of network/geographical location).

          Android Ice Cream sandwich - you don't know anything! Look at all the mess in the past (HTC Desire to 2.3). What on earth makes you think it is going to be any different?

          Finally, Google is very much an advertising company. It is where the vast majority of their revenue and profit comes form. If you haven't seen 'targeted' advertising yet, it is only a matter of time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Exactly!

          "These are the main misconceptions behind the whole Apple vs Android debate:"

          One misconception that you didn’t mention is that yer average punter doesn’t care about that Steve Jobs is running Apple. Similarly, a lot of consumers don’t give a stuff about iTunes or that Android, in theory, is open source. Another misconception you missed is that people tend to project their own opinion and prejudice as fact in these debates.

          The idea that “people do not buy an Android because it's cheaper” is a false one – some folk do go with price, be it for phone, tablet, clothes, car or whatever. I have several mates who manage mobile phone stores throughout the UK and for different companies, all of who report that an awful lot of people come in for an iPhone but leave with an Android phone because the latter is more economical. That’s not to say Android is worse or that an iPhone wouldn’t better for them, but that some people’s buying decision are affected by the fact they can get a get an Android phone as an free upgrade – particularly when they didn’t know how much the iPhone costs.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Younger people staying with the same?

    Actually, by the time children/youth start to get older and get some indepence and cash, they tend to cast off childish things and want to look like a grown-up. If they associate an XYZ device with their childhood and adolescence, they will, as soon as possible, mark their newly felt maturity and wealth by moving to "grown-up" toys, whether that is a car that can go a whole week without a vist to the garage, a pair of shoes and a shirt that do not scream,"I am a 14 year old nerd" or a new model of telephone.

    Youth buying things is not a promise for the future, just ask most rock bands.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Plainly untrue.

    >> If there's "an app for that" on an iPhone, there's 30 apps for that on Android, and most of them are free.

    Plainly untrue - there are MORE apps by number on the Apple store than the Android Marketplace. As a percentage there may be more free apps on the Android but does anyone really mind paying less than £1 for a good app??

    Free apps are often (not always) crap or ad supported. I would much rather pay something for a better quality app, that the author is being paid for (i.e. more likely to want to support) and with no ads.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Going after Apple

    First Reg article offended the Android Fan Bois, I can respect that.

    Much as I would commend someone for offending the Apple Fan Bois, I can't help shake my head at the stupidity of saying something which will incur the wrath of those supercilious smug little shits.

  53. Anonymous Coward


    Android sells (to the vast majority of people) on price alone - to the (vast majority of people) if they could have an iPhone for the same price - they would.

    A small number of people buy it for technical differences - in the same way a small number of people jail-break iPhones - to most people it's irrelevant.

    A huge number of people buy a 'Ford' but how many of those would 'prefer' a BMW / Mercedes.

    1. majorursa


      Iphone = Audi

      Blackberry = Mercedes

      Nokia = BMW

      Android = all the other brands together (including Lexus, Volvo etc..)

      1. OrsonX

        Nokia = BMW


        Nokia = the biggest POS I can think of

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ok, if all this "Apple flexing it's patent muscles to keep Android out of the tablet market" stuff is accurate; then at what point is Apple deemed to be conducting anti-competitive behaviour?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anti-competitive

      I guess they've become anti-competitive when they willingly forge image aspect ratios to make the Samsung galaxy tab look more like the iPad. ....

    2. stuff and nonesense

      numbers and letters

      So long as it is protecting it's IP within the law it will not be deemed to be being anti-competitive.

      Patents by their nature are anti-competitive. Their intention is to protect the innovator.

  55. Gio Ciampa

    The nuclear option...?

    Motorola hold the patent on the mobile phone, or so I believe.

    Game over!

  56. IanJ2

    "Android owns the future global mobile buyer" - really?

    "Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?

    Android owns the future global mobile buyer."

    I remember when people said the same thing about MySpace and Bebo - "Kids use them so Facebook will die out"...

  57. Matthew 17

    Google is a bubble

    Their whole model is based upon advertising with the perception that internet advertising and information is worth a lot of money, is the perception valid or is it a bubble, how much of this data can actually generate a sale of something real?

    If it's ever realised that this isn't as high as perceived then Google will be in trouble as they don't have anything else, they don't actually sell anything that's real. Your Apples and Microsofts at least have a product you can buy.

    1. fandom

      It's valid

      You only have to read Google's earnings releases to see that it is no bubble, they could hardly make more money if they were printing it, last quarter they made about 2.5 billion dollars with over 9 billion in revenue.

      Of course, Facebook could start eating their lunch, who knows?

  58. Anonymous Coward


    "kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?"

    good article until i got to this statement...

    it has been my experience that kids want whatever phone is fashionable. my daughter wanted an iphone because that was the phone to be seen with. Many og her friends have blackberries, but they are envious of the iphone owning friends.

    I have an Android, (HTC desire) and my daughter even admits that its a better phone than her iphone, but when asked if she wants a similar handset when her contract expires was responded with a massive "hell no", she has to have another iphone to fit in with the "in crowd"

    so, its my experience, that adults buy most phones, the phones kids use are fashion statements.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Kids buying "cheap" handsets.

    I find it depressing to think that anyone would want a phone just because someone else had one.

    I'm an adult that tried an iPhone before I bought it. I did so because it was a compelling user experience which was unparalleled in 2007. I've also played with recent Android devices and they have caught up in experience, but 1) I don't believe any Android licensees give a crap about their customers. You cant say for sure if you buy an Android handset today that it will run an updated release next year. iPhone pretty much guaranteed. My 2007 device still runs most apps released today. 2) Resale value. In general you can buy an iPhone every 18 months funded by the sale of the last handset. You can also be fairly sure that if you look after it that it will look like new. I'm not seeing the same from any 6 month old Android handsets I've seen, the build / design is just not there. Sell it an move is the mantra for HTC and all Android device makers as far as I can see.

    The last Samsung mobile phone I bought was a rip off of the Motorola Razr. There is not a lot of innovation there now that I can see. Its marketing tick boxes, quantity over quality.


      Devil's in the details...

      > You cant say for sure if you buy an Android handset

      > today that it will run an updated release next year

      Actually, I have better chances with the Android phone because I am

      far less interested in "rooting" it or "jailbreaking" it. In order to run the

      latest version of PhoneOS, you have to de-jailbreak it.

      Did that with my iPhone right before I got my current Android.

      The experience was rather jarring. I wouldn't want to go back to a non-jailbroken iDevice.

  60. frood
    Thumb Down

    Kids buy blackberrys not Androids

    'Nuff said

  61. hexx

    funny huh

    Google lost bidding on Nortel patents. Moto's CEO talks about switching to MS, rumors about MS acquiring Moto. and now Google acquires Moto for 12+B, company which isn't profitable, sales have been declining and is 3rd behind Samsung and HTC when it comes to Android OS.

    So I guess Moto was clever with those public statements about switching and suing other Android manufacturers and drove Google to spend so much money on them. very clever. Let's hope Google isn't buying a dead horse.

    When it comes to patent portfolio, don't forget this is mobile division of Moto and MS obviously doesn't give a shit and sued them anyway so the patent portfolio doesn't seem to be that strong.

  62. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Anti-trust won't allow it

    Google's search and advertising dominance means it has to tread very carefully when trying to restrict competition.

    The question that will be asked is are Google using their dominance in online services to monopolise the handset market?

    Sure, Android may be free now but it may not be for much longer? after all, they haven't released the source for the latest release. Okay that may be because it isn't ready for phone handsets but it's a slightly worrying sign of what may come.

  63. Gannon (J.) Dick

    A hundred and how many comments ?!


    <p>All these comments based upon a Shit Happens graph mislabeled as Adoption Curve or some such. What is up with that ? Don't you people have a neighborhood stores to burn down or something ?</p>

    <p>Warren Buffett was absolutely correct (about taxing the wealthy) - the assumption that the 'winners' need special advantages to thrive (let alone that they actually notice, or appreciate) is crazy. They don't need fans, because they did it all themselves because they are brilliant, just ask them.</p>


    Thank you for your time. Resume misguided hero worship in 4...3...2...1...

  64. ghoppe

    User Demographics

    This article is fantasy. I'll just focus on the following.

    > "Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?"

    Latest info I could find was a 2010 survey by AdMob. Following is the percentage of users of the particular platform in the age bracket.

    Age by Platform, 17 or younger:

    Android: 7%

    iPhone: 13%

    iPod touch: 65%

    Your statement is demonstrably false. Kids are buying iPhones. (Or, parents are buying for them.)

    Let's consider the 24 or younger crowd:

    Android: 24%

    iPhone: 25%

    iPod touch: 78%

    So, here things are evening out a bit, as younger tech enthusiasts are buying more Android. Yet users of Android and iPhone are roughly equal.

    But still, 4 out of 5 iPod touch users are that age. You think if they had a choice they wouldn't opt for the device that supports their iPod touch apps/games, etc.?

    By the way, that "soccer dad" demographic, 35-44 looks like this:

    Android: 21%

    iPhone: 21%

    age 25-34 is:

    Android: 30%

    iPhone: 21%


    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: User Demographics

      Just where the hell did you pull these utter junk numbers from, seriously?

      AdMob? Really?

  65. aThingOrTwo

    Easy come, easy go...

    The barriers of entry to Android are low, but on the flip side there's virtually nothing special or unique about the platform you can't get from iOS or Windows Phone (unless you appreciate fiddling around with boot loaders and the community side of the platform - which most of the public don't know or care about).

    What's to say many Android users won't leave as quickly as they came? The platform has no stickiness.

  66. Anonymous Coward

    Adults buy iOS?

    'Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?'

    This works if by iOS you just mean the iPhone.

    But we know that the iPod touch is also very popular, and is particularly popular amongst teenagers and younger audiences who can't afford the data plan and extra outlay of an iPhone on contract. Combined, iPod touch and iPhones outnumber Android devices. Jobs once called the iPod touch 'training wheels for the iPhone' - that's his plan, it's a gateway drug to Apple's pricier offering.

    The idea that Apple doesn't care about the mass market proves less convincing as time goes on. Of course Apple prefers you buy their more 'premium' products so they can get more money out of you, but the way they try to get you hooked is with their cheaper products. The Mac Mini, for example, is often pitched as a Mac for Windows migrants because you don't need to buy a bunch of extra peripherals for it and its (comparatively) inexpensive.

    Price is not the main issue. Flagship Android devices like the SGS2 and HTC Sensation are in the same price bracket as the iPhone. The HTC Desire was a great seller and that was hardly cheap. Cleaners have iPhones too, so it's not really that premium a product. A top-end phone is around £500-600 unlocked, well within the range of most people, unlike other premium goods in certain categories (e.g. cars and watches) which the bulk of the population will never be able to afford.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Cleaners have iPhones too"

      That's a great quote!

      And very true. I used to be the only person I knew that bought high end Nokia devices ie the N93 and communicator 9200 before that. These were cool to me, but no one else I ever met. Last year I was sad enough to queue for an iPhone 4 and was among 200 other folk of who I saw at least 80% had an earlier generation iPhone. This is in a small town in the UK.

    2. Levente Szileszky

      RE: Adults buy iOS?


      You Apple shills are so predictable... since when iPod Touch is a PHONE?

  67. Basement

    The real reason why the iPod won

    The reason that iPod won is simple - because of the clickwheel. It was a simple and unique way to interact with an mp3 player. All the major competitors (sony, samsung, microsoft etc.) were decent enough to not blatantly copy the clickwheel and the look and feel of the iPod. They tried to create something else, but none of them were successful.

    The reason iPhone and iPad will not be able to win like the iPod is that Google is not afraid to copy and be sued. They know they will not survive if they are afraid to blatantly copy Apple's multi-touch concept (pinch to zoom etc.) with phones. Most Android phones these days even copy the look and feel, and the icons (color, size, placement), and even the way the icons are laid out from the iPhone. So it is getting harder for Apple to distinguish its products. I just wish Android had invented a new way to interact with phones, instead of "slavishly" copying Apple.

    1. Dante


      Didn't Apple steal the clickwheel idea?

  68. PhilBack

    So what?

    We will not affect this much. We'll buy devices based on our financial capacity.

    And I have no issue having Android and iOS tablets. Basically, tablets are for consumption of media. And games.

    But the developers are what makes a brand work. And Apple currently has a huge lead here. AppStore, iTunes, those are what kids use. They even buy MBPs.

  69. Phormic

    You Have to be Kidding

    Kids buy Android? What complete rot. They might GET Android but what do they WANT? From a Piper Jaffray report published this April:

    "Teen buying trends in portable devices show the rising popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPod. The market share of iPhone rose to 17 percent, and, in the next six months, 37 percent of surveyed teens intend to purchase an iPhone (up from 31 percent one year ago)."

    Which is a nice segue to my next point. There's also a thing called an iPod Touch which runs iOS and a bazillion games. Hazard to guess who buys them? Or because it's not a phone it doesn't count?

    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: You Have to be Kidding...

      ...if you are seriously quoting Piper Jaffray and their junk "analysis". :) PJ is a typical lowlife, el cheapo market-manipulator scammy outlet who had been found doing illegal tricks SEVERAL times. They have also at least twice rather deleted emails and paid fines than showing anything to the investigators looking for crucial evidence of improper (securities) conduct (last time they paid $700k, a year ago, just Google the details.) It's a classic crooked firm where so-called "investment banking" and brokering goes hand in hand, only to enrich the firm - kinda like how Government Sachs scammed people in 2007-2008 by pushing worthless derivatives GS itself was selling/shorting already.

  70. Levente Szileszky

    Reasoning is silly but the story remains true...

    ...namely iOS is losing already and nothing can stop it especially not Apple - its own (fake) exclusive approach cornered iOS into this tight, lonely, sad place on the market: against everybody else.

    Regardess of all the Jobsian drones here the fact is a fact: when your competitor activates MORE THAN 5 TIMES MORE units every single day than you do then you have LOST the battle, period.

    FWIW the author seems to be quite clueless about demographics and shopping habits, let alone US prices. You know what's cheap? Blackberry, FOR FREE, that's cheap. And that's what you can see it in the hands of kids and teens, yes - not so much those shiny new Android phones because the latest ones are always running around $100-200 with 2-y contracts.

    BTW in the past 10-12 months with only a couple of exception literally everybody I know REPLACED her/his iPhone with a new, shiny Android phone. It's a trend and I am not talking about technology professionals only but also - GASP! - design people. Yes, you are reading it right - even classic Apple-base started dropping iPhones now. It's old, it's outdated and AT&T's network sucks.

    I mean it sucks - REALLY-REALLY SUCKS, at least in NYC.

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