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Google Inc. is close to unveiling its long-planned strategy to shake up the wireless market, people familiar with the matter say. The Web giant's ambitious goal: to make applications and services as accessible on cellphones as they are on the Internet.
Within the next two weeks, Google is expected to announce advanced software and services that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, people familiar with the situation say.
Google Phone Software & Services For Handset Makers [online.wsj.com]
I'll quote Walter Mossberg in the 10/22/07 WSJ:
A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.
Whether you are a consumer, a hardware maker, a software developer or a provider of cool new services, it's hard to make a move in the American cellphone world without the permission of the companies that own the pipes. While power in other technology sectors flows to consumers and nimble entrepreneurs, in the cellphone arena it remains squarely in the hands of the giant carriers.
I've gone from looking at Google's interest in this with a yawn to watching it with keen interest.
I know many worry about Google's clout, but someone needs to do something here and it will take someone with clout.
Where does iPhone fit in? It seems that it's pretty revolutionary from top to bottom. A different way to interface, a different OS, a full browser, etc. Am I missing something? Is there something more that Google will do? Will phone companies warranty their phones if they've been wiped and had Google's system installed?
But G is going to have to come up with some kind of exclusive killer app to get the carriers to roll over. It's a tough, tough situation. You might be right: The government might should step in.
It's a tough, tough situation
It sure is and I'm guessing that only governemt action would change it. My guess is that 'open' is not really 'wide open' but only 'more open than yesterday' when/if Google does release something.
The carriers keep customers by the gadgets they offer...not their service. The iphone is an example of how an OK carrier (at&t) can get a few more people by having a cool, yet closed, gadget.
But, at the end of the story, there was this:
Another concern is how Google and carriers will split future advertising revenue. Cellphone advertising is still a tiny market, yet wireless carriers see it as an area that could grow quickly in coming years and help offset declining voice revenue. Telecom executives are trying to avoid a repeat of what happened on the Web, when they were left out of the boom in online advertising revenue even though they provide the infrastructure that makes broadband connections possible.
Think about that. In terms that traditional webmasters can understand, this is saying that the ISP should get a cut of the ad revenue on websites.
Or don't think about it. Go back to what you were doing. There is nothing important going on here.
1) Technical issues. These are ultimately sorted out by carriers' QA department. They have rigid acceptance tests. Fail these tests as a handset manufacturer, and you never get into the carriers portfolio. Never. These guys simply don't want to see phones in their network that behave badly. (Hint to Google: It is difficult to build phones that actually pass carriers' acceptance tests.)
2) Business issues. The one major fear all the carriers have right now is to become a "bitpipe", i.e. to become a mobile ISP - exchangable, competing just on the price with no differentiation whatsoever. The past has shown that carriers will defend their "service" territory vigorously. The thing least wanted by a carrier is a set of services that transmit a wealth of information back to Google upon each use of the device (each network login, each search, each mail, and so on), allowing it Google over time to take-over the customer. Thus, it will take Google considerable amounts of cash to convince carriers to change that way of thinking.
3) Legal issues. This is probably the weakest of the three, but with all this privacy discussion going on, Google and its users are sitting on a time bomb. People complain about data being collected on the Internet? Then welcome the new Google Phone: Now Google knows when you login, the services you are using, the search queries are tied to your device number (and maybe even to your other personal data). Uhhh. This will become a privacy nightmare.