Google-Samsung relationship profitable but could change

Apr 04, 2013 by Brandon Bailey

The world's leading smartphone maker managed to spotlight a youthful tap-dancer, Broadway actors and plenty of lame jokes during an hourlong event to show off its latest high-end gadget - but there was barely a mention of the Android software that makes Samsung's most successful phones work.

That snub didn't go unnoticed by tech analysts who are watching for signs of strain in the lucrative partnership between . and ., which developed Android. Some have wondered if Samsung's tremendous growth could tip the balance in that relationship.

"After the announcement for the Galaxy S4" - the new smartphone that goes on sale this month - "there was a lot of questioning about whether Samsung was trying to subsume Android or even move away from it," said Ross Rubin, a veteran tech analyst at Reticle Research.

lets Samsung and other hardware makers use Android without charge, in an innovative strategy to ensure that its online services are available on used by consumers around the world. To date, that arrangement has paid off for both companies.

Samsung relied on Android devices to achieve dominance in the smartphone business, while Google says its mobile revenue has reached $8 billion a year from showing ads and selling digital goods on a variety of , including Samsung's. Google also counts on Android to balance the ambitions of Apple, which has begun de-emphasizing Google apps on the and .

But Samsung has begun building its own features on top of Android for its Galaxy phones. And some analysts have speculated Samsung's success might give the Korean tech giant enough clout to create its own version of Android, demand special features from Google or install more of its own software to replace Google's ad-supported services. It might even demand a share of Google's mobile ad revenue.

Almost 70 percent of smartphones sold worldwide last year use Android, as opposed to operating software from Apple, Microsoft and others, according to the Canalys research firm. Analysts at IDC estimate Samsung sold more than 215 million smartphones last year, almost half of all Android phones sold.

Samsung also sells phones that use Microsoft's mobile software, and it's planning a phone based on new software called Tizen, which Samsung developed with Intel and other partners.

But Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said Android's ecosystem of applications and services are so popular that Samsung is unlikely to abandon its partnership with Google. "Both parties need each other," he said.

Explore further: EU says Ireland grants Apple illegal tax benefits

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft, Samsung expand smartphone partnership (Update)

Sep 28, 2011

(AP) -- Microsoft and Samsung Electronics have agreed to cross-license one another's patent portfolios, with Microsoft getting royalties for the mobile phones and tablets Samsung sells that run Google Inc.'s Android operating ...

Apple targets Google in patent suit

Nov 07, 2012

A US judge on Wednesday was considering a request by Apple that would pull Google from the sidelines in a long-running patent war with Samsung over mobile gadgets powered by Android software.

Report: Samsung, Microsoft tie up for new tablet

Sep 08, 2011

South Korea's Samsung Electronics has teamed up with Microsoft to make a new tablet computer powered by the US software giant's latest operating system, a report said Thursday.

Samsung reveals new Galaxy Note II

Aug 29, 2012

Fresh off a legal battle with Apple, Samsung is announcing a new version of the Galaxy Note, an offbeat, oversized smartphone that's become a surprise hit.

Recommended for you

What's PayPal's first solo move?

3 hours ago

PayPal's impending split from long-time partner eBay Inc. will ratchet up its appeal to online retail competitors such as Amazon.com and give it the freedom to aggressively take on new mobile pay challeng ...

AOL to feed more video, news to Microsoft's MSN

8 hours ago

AOL will provide Microsoft's MSN with more video and additional news stories from popular sites such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch in an expansion of a deal aimed at selling more digital advertising.

Microsoft to tap $2-trillion Indian cloud market

12 hours ago

Microsoft announced plans Tuesday to offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly.

User comments : 0