MotoGoogle/webOS special. MotoGoogle first, then webOS.
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- Interesting theory: Google aims to make new Motorola phones cheap ($50-100) in order to win market share.
- Nokia boss Elop sees a danger for other Android vendors after the MotoGoole acquisition. No kidding!
- Will Microsoft buy Nokia or RIM now that the big consolidation has started? Nah.
- Excellent article by Horace Dediu about Google’s strategic mistakes and how they led to the Motorola acquisition. Google bet on commoditisation of the OS software, and on Android being that commodity so that its service would flow freely to all phones in the world, but that hasn’t happened yet. Neither hardware nor software is a commodity yet, and it doesn’t look like that will happen in 2012, either. Meanwhile, Google is now both a hardware and a software vendor, but has to compete with other vendors, even the other Android vendors. That’s not a winning strategy.
- Culture clash between Google and Motorola?
Culture clash indeed. And Google is not that much larger than Motorola, so it could become a serious problem.
A key difference between the companies stems from Motorola's focus on hardware and Google's on software. That helps explain why Google is more able to take risks, Mr. Jha said. If he worked at Google and “wrote a little bit of code, and if there are bugs, I can fix it later,” he said. “When I deliver a phone, I don't have that flexibility.”
- Michael Mace looks at the MotoGoogle bombshell from all possible angles, and still doesn’t understand it.
In other words, they didn’t think it through.
I think Google has about as much chance of successfully managing a device business as Nokia had of running an OS business.
But the real question is, does Google realize that it doesn't know how to make hardware? I doubt it. Speaking as someone who worked at PalmSource for its whole independent history, an OS company always believes that it could do a better job of making hardware than its licensees. It's incredibly frustrating to have a vision for what people should do with your software, and then see them screw it up over and over. The temptation is to build some hardware yourself, just to show those idiots how to do it right.
I think maybe Google just gave in to that temptation.
- Critical Path 4, all about MotoGoogle. Required listening.
- Rebecca Lynn proposes that Google should give away new Motorola devices for free. Jean-Louis Gassée echoes the sentiment (in a piece that’s mostly about HP).
John Gruber does some math and concludes that the total cost of these devices should be in the $10-20 range for Google to make a profit. So there’s no money to be made with giving away devices for free.
Still, these prices made me think of the developing world. A really basic Android phone, given away for free in the developing world, would at the very least be disruptive. It won’t make Google money: the $6-10 it earns on every Android user every year are developed-world prices, and the earnings elsewhere would be much slimmer.
Still, I’ve been mulling over this idea in my mind. What if Google gave away cheap devices in the developing world? Nokia would have a major extra headache, and Android would conquer market share (which, I think, is more important than profit in the short run).
Anyway, let’s file this under Weird Ideas that Might Come True.
- HTC is not looking for other operating systems and is still happy with Android.
Let’s see what their actions will be a few months from now.
- John Gruber has the simplest explanation why HP is quitting the PC (and mobile) business.
- Overview of what went before with HP and Palm.
- Overview of what HP did wrong. Long list.
I think the tablet market isn’t going to be locked down any time soon, so HP made a mistake here. It should have waited.
I think that HP was caught in a fundamental tension between wanting to get the TouchPad out into the marketplace before it became too locked in to an iOS vs Android dynamic and making it as good as it could be before launch. As a result, HP released the TouchPad before its 3.0.2 update, leading to a bevy of poor reviews and bad feedback from customers.
- Call to open-source webOS. Ain’t gonna happen. It’s worth money, so it’s going to be sold.
- The Next Web provides details about how HP’s announcements were handled internally. Not too well.
This fits well with other reports.
HP made the announcement that it was ceasing to make webOS hardware, but neglected to get a hardware licensing deal in place before doing so. This seemed to drive home the point that webOS was dead in the water, when in fact it is very much alive and was never the issue. It was the hardware that was killing HP’s OS.
If HP had announced a licensing deal before the discontinuation of the hardware, the news would have gone much differently today. There would be no stories about the “death of webOS”, an OS that many of us thought was just starting to get good.
- Michael Mahemoff points at another webOS asset: Node.js. Not terribly important for consumers, but absolutely vital for getting web developer traction.
- Dion Almaer mentions a surprising candidate for taking over: Facebook. I’m not so sure. What webOS needs most is a hardware partner, and whatever Facebook is, it isn’t a device vendor.
- ZDNet studies the TouchPad fire sale. I do not agree with everything they say, especially not that the tablet market is “ruined” now. Why should it be?
- HP is still looking for buyers.
The failure was the owners’ fault, not the platform’s. In that respect, Amazon would be a bad scenario since it isn’t a device vendor, either.
HP is said to prefer to sell on webOS, but unless it can resurrect rumored deals with Amazon or Samsung, outright buyers for a platform that has failed under two successive owners/strategies are unlikely to be forthcoming.
- Michael Mace makes some good points about webOS:
If you believe that every smartphone company needs to own its own OS, we ought to see a mad bidding war between LG, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Dell, and maybe Samsung to buy Web OS. (The loser could get RIM as a consolation prize.) Maybe a buyout will still happen, but I think HP has probably been quietly shopping Web OS for a while, and if there were interest it would have tried to close a deal before today's announcement.
(By the way, HTC, if you do buy Web OS, you should insist that HP give you the Palm brand name as well. It's still far better known than the HTC brand in the US. The same logic applies for LG.)
- Critical Path 5, about webOS and the tablet market. Required listening.
- You’d almost forget it, but HP is also getting rid of its PC division. That leaves Microsoft in need of another preferred partner when it comes to testing new Windows versions and functionalities.
- Ewan McLeod feels webOS’s main problem is the lack of apps. Could be; it certainly isn’t helpful.
And here we see what Palm and HP did wrong. I’m still convinced that a web-based operating system could be sold as a development platform to web developers (not mobile web developers; just plain old desktop web developers, who haven’t picked sides yet in the mobile battle). If whoever buys webOS would get this right, the app problem might be solved.
- webOS running on an iPad? And faster than on a TouchPad? The Next Web says so, and admittedly partisan webOS Arena too, but John Gruber is skeptical, and I definitely agree when he says there’s no way it can run faster in Safari on iOS than natively on the TouchPad.
- Microsoft offers webOS developers free Windows Phones and dev tools and stuff so that they’ll switch. Good idea. Now if they could send me a Windows Phone, preferably a mangofied one...
Meanwhile, 500 webOS developers have taken Microsoft up on its offer. Not sure if that’s a lot, but for a small platform like webOS it probably is.
- Luke Wroblewski adds some numbers to the TouchPad story.
- HP will continue to run the webOS app store. They’d be crazy not to; they have to at least pretend webOS is a healthy ecosystem if they want to sell it.
- Have a tip for the next Linkbait?