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Android Fragmentation Will Hurt Google Mobile Business

Businessweek has an interesting article about how Google is tightening its policies on Android even though it is still open.

One thing is known, for sure – Android is doing well in the market.. It began as an open source. But today, it is evolving as something different – just more policing. Google now has categories of users – those they get new versions earlier before they are made available to the whole world. The challenge is that doing that and not treating all customers the same violates the open source spirit.

Yet, Google is doing exactly what it has to do for its business.  It cannot allow total freedom on this important OS that has redesigned the mobile ecosystem. From HTC to Motorola, many organizations do not have to spend money to develop OS for their devices. Google makes the OS available and that is great. Yet, when they get this OS, they begin to rework on it and basically modify it.

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That is the problem since it is creating fragmentation in the business.  There is a risk that Facebook will have its own Android version. Motorola will do the same. Acer and hosts of those giants will follow. What will Google get? Do the hard job and others will modify and then rack billions of dollars off you. The truth is that as Android fragments, it is hurting Google mobile strategy and there is no business sense for them to allow that to happen.

Certainly, many will go to the Justice department complaining that Google is using its huge market position to cause unfair competition. In other words, Google is deciding winners through that preferential treatment of who gets it OS, in time. But it must do so and all companies need to understand. They must abide by the non-fragmentation clause that Google requires. Companies cannot tweak Android to the extent that it loses identity of Google. There is that risk that some will work on it and you will not even know it is Android.

Tightening policies as market conditions change is not a bad thing. Google must do that in this business; otherwise, it will lose heavily. Alternatively, it can license Android – too bad now – and then ask these companies to tweak as they want as then they would have gotten the money they need.

Author: Tekedia Staff Writer

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