From Fortune Newsletter: Google is worried that Huawei will eat its cake and still have it: “Google wants to be exempted from the Trump administration’s ban on exports to Huawei, and it’s using national security interests (one of the justifications for the ban itself) as the basis for its argument. The logic goes thusly: stop Huawei being able to use Google’s version of Android, and Huawei will end up developing its own version of Android, which will be more easily hackable by the Chinese government among others.”
That makes sense: Android belongs to the open source software category and can be modified. After all, Google has been making the same case, after it allegedly violated Java APIs’ copyright in developing Android. Simply, Huawei will use Google’s argument against Oracle – the owner of Java – against it.
“We are disappointed that the Federal Circuit overturned the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to defend this principle against companies like Oracle, whose restrictive practices threaten to stifle the work of new generations of tech developers,” Google said in a statement sent to Android Police.
Winning the case is mostly important for Google from a precedent-setting standpoint, but losing would also carry a hefty charge; in the last trial Oracle claimed damages of almost $9 billion. Of course, considering Google’s revenues last quarter were just over $32 billion, the company’s certainly good for it — but losing several billion dollars is never ideal.
I have a name suggestion for Huawei version clone of Android: Trumpy (yes,”trumpy” so that it can be trademarkable).
The Power of China on Gadgets
If U.S. pushes Huawei and by extension the broad Chinese phone makers out of Android, I predict that within 6 years, the operating system of choice in Android will be the flavour the Chinese device markets converge on. If they decide to use Trumpy operating system, as I proposed, Africa, Latin America and most parts of Asia will flip. Why? Affordability.
No one in Africa will buy the expensive Google Pixel or other phones from U.S. makers or European makers. The most affordable devices remain in the hands of Chinese brands like Oppo, Tecno and Huawei. So, if you push them to use another OS, Google’s Android will lose market share over time even in places the Huawei ban does not cover.
When it comes to emerging markets, cost matters. So far, Chinese phone makers dominate therein. That they use your software and pay the necessary fees should not be taken for granted. If Trump puts heat and they create an alternative one, by ripping Android apart, future phones in Africa will not be powered by Android. Sure, Samsung will continue to have offices in Africa but it has lost market share because of price. Simply, Samsung will not save Android.
I hope President Trump understands the risk ahead – Android can become simply an American and European product, losing relevance in emerging markets, for Trumpy operating system.