Microsoft: Google's Nexus One plan is "very, very difficult"

With the recent release of the Nexus One, some have been rather critical of Google. It's a company that licenses its mobile OS software to other companies, but has now introduced a competitor to those exact phones. Microsoft is one such criticizer, stating Google's scheme is very difficult.

In an interview posted on Business Week, Microsoft's head of mobile development, Robbie Bach, stated, "Google's announcement sends a signal where they're going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we'll pursue them." He noted the fears that Google will prioritize its own phone over other vendors offering Android based devices, continuing with, "Doing both (selling the Nexus One whilst offering its software to others) in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult."

Bach isn't the only one with this frame of mind. An analyst at the research firm Interpret LLC, Michael Gartenberg, said, "No one has ever succeeded in selling their own device while trying to license to partners simultaneously. As much as Google can say it's not a Google phone, the phone says Google on it. They're going to have to convince their licensees they're not in competition with them." Whether or not you're a fan of Google, the pair make a rather good point; it's hard on partners when a company offers a product that directly competes with other products packing software developed by the very same company. Bach predicted that some companies may even give up using Android and switch to another operating system. Regardless, the coming months (and even years) will be very interesting and exciting ones for the mobile industry.

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Microsoft is critical, because they are also concerned. Google has an opportunity to do something great here, but they need to keep a neutral stance when it comes to the OS and making everything available to everyone with no favoritism. Develop the OS and continue to go forward while adding to it to give people what they want, but keep the platform on the same pace with other manufacturers, carriers, and their Android devices. Google has an opportunity to take the lead and set the pace if they make the right business decisions in the process.

If they do it right, it will encourage other manufacturers to step up their game. Better quality for all is a good thing. More options for all is a good thing. Wouldn't it be nice if other manufacturers followed suit and offered unlocked devices? It could get a lot more competitive and with how tech changes some exciting things could develop as well. When things are on a proprietary level, there's less of a chance for breakthrough due to companies being tied to down to specifics and how things should be designed. If Google doesn't drag their feet and keeps equality among their partners when it comes to their own subsidized device, they could be on top of the world in the device community. Opening the door for people to be able to use a phone on any network they choose is a huge thing, as well as current customers who want to avoid extending contracts and moving carriers if they choose.

It really could also change how some of the carriers do business, giving people the ability to instantly jump ship to a different company and have a capable phone without the pushy salesperson driven by commission to sell a handset. There's so much more that could be said. Companies with higher pricing like Verizon Wireless would have to be more competitive in terms of price to avoid people leaving, and already do as it is but an unlocked device that can work on any carrier is dangerous to carriers who want to continue to rip us off and give poor customer service in the process.

great post.

If you are right and it leads to an 'unlocking' of the formats with more of a free for all as far as hardware goes (i.e. not linked to exclusive carriers etc) then hopefully we will see a similar tech explosion as we saw with the PC twenty years ago: Loads of development, loads of choice for the consumer and you can choose your carrier a bit like you can choose your ISP.

LiquidSolstice said,
loling at your ignorance of who owned the mobile smartphone market pre-2005 era.

Microsoft, as big as it is, are on a decline my friend and no w7 mobile crap will save them considering the monsters that are in the market nowadays.

LiquidSolstice said,
loling at your ignorance of who owned the mobile smartphone market pre-2005 era.

They owned it? AFAIK Nokia/Symbian have had the smartphone market for a while now and no one is even close.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer on the iPhone in 2007: "hahaha, $500!, fully subsidised with a plan! that is the most expensive phone in the world!"

Direct quote ^ Whenever Microsoft talks negatively about a competitors product that should be your first sign to buy stock in that company because it will sell like hot cakes.

Ballmer wasn't making a prediction or anything, he was absolutely right: a 500USD phone with an even more costly plan is insanely expensive.

Same thing in this article: although the Google Nexus probablywon't be a failure, these two statements are true. Anyway, they didn't really criticize the product, they just said Google had a tough challenge, which isn't that negative when you think about it, I'm sure the execs at Google also wondered if their phone would have such an effect.

RPDL said,
Ballmer wasn't making a prediction or anything, he was absolutely right: a 500USD phone with an even more costly plan is insanely expensive.

Same thing in this article: although the Google Nexus probablywon't be a failure, these two statements are true. Anyway, they didn't really criticize the product, they just said Google had a tough challenge, which isn't that negative when you think about it, I'm sure the execs at Google also wondered if their phone would have such an effect.


It's business. What's "insanely expensive" is for customers/market to decide not some delusional CEO.

I'm not sure MS get it, or perhaps more likely, WANT to get it in public.

The idea is of course that Google does this to drive interest in their Android OS, something that is VERY important to not fail early on. If they succeed in this, this will obviously also benefit their "competitors" (in quotes since it's not even Google producing the Nexus One - it's HTC).

Where Google could screw up in all of this, is if they make the mistake of crippling their partner's updates in favor of the Nexus One. For instance, if the next update left out all the extra voice recognition options for all other 'droid phones but the Nexus. That would really anger their licensees. I would hope that they wouldn't be that stupid, but without all the extra bells and whistles, the Nexus is just another phone with the Android OS, one I can't even try out at my local carrier store before I decide to buy it. Just my 2 cents.

Google's support is appalling. Order 5th Jan, order just says "not yet shipped". I'm paying a premium for this phone, I expect a good service - but no communication at ALL is just unacceptable

Webworldx said,
Google's support is appalling. Order 5th Jan, order just says "not yet shipped". I'm paying a premium for this phone, I expect a good service - but no communication at ALL is just unacceptable

That's what you get from someone who's never done it before...

Webworldx said,
Google's support is appalling. Order 5th Jan, order just says "not yet shipped". I'm paying a premium for this phone, I expect a good service - but no communication at ALL is just unacceptable

everyone I've heard said the phone shipped with overnight shipping. thats why my friend was telling me about the phone on the 6th. google must not like you.

That's odd. I ordered on the 7th and it shipped out on the 8th. Not to the UK though. Perhaps they have stock allocated for each country?

In an interview posted on Business Week, Microsoft's head of mobile development, Robbie Bach, stated, "Google's announcement sends a signal where they're going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we'll pursue them."

Sigh. Always the bridesmaid, Microsoft; never the bride.

It's this side of Microsoft that I don't like - stop pursuing Google. Why must you always pursue them. INNOVATE. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Stop playing kiss chase with Google for heavens sake!

Chicane-UK said,
Sigh. Always the bridesmaid, Microsoft; never the bride.

It's this side of Microsoft that I don't like - stop pursuing Google. Why must you always pursue them. INNOVATE. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Stop playing kiss chase with Google for heavens sake!

Interpretation FAIL.

Robbie Bach is saying they're going to pursue opportunities presented to them created by the Google deal - that is, if Google does end up annoying the other phone manufacturers, they'll take advantage of it.

Chicane-UK said,
Sigh. Always the bridesmaid, Microsoft; never the bride.

It's this side of Microsoft that I don't like - stop pursuing Google. Why must you always pursue them. INNOVATE. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Stop playing kiss chase with Google for heavens sake!


+1. Really great comment.

The NexusOne is useless to me, locked or unlocked since it is (currently) crippled by being fully usable only on T-Mobile which is a bigger joke than AT&T coverage-wise in all the places I care about.

bcronin said,
The NexusOne is useless to me, locked or unlocked since it is (currently) crippled by being fully usable only on T-Mobile which is a bigger joke than AT&T coverage-wise in all the places I care about.

Try not being available in all but 4 countries too.

Digix said,
Try not being available in all but 4 countries too.

Surely T-Mobile has overseas partnerships? Lots of carriers don't exist in other countries, but it doesn't make the phones useless.

bcronin said,
The NexusOne is useless to me, locked or unlocked since it is (currently) crippled by being fully usable only on T-Mobile which is a bigger joke than AT&T coverage-wise in all the places I care about.

Tmobile 3g works well on my G1 in Seattle and surrounding areas.

You could say WM7 might be great but without a slick phone it won't have a great impact and will phones from different manufactures ever become as popular as the iPhones. It's been proven time and again with MP3 players. You need something to go along with the software that's a must have if your looking at Apple's success. Zune being Microsoft's late attempt.

I still think it's possible to have success without having your own hardware but Microsoft pushing their own stuff like WMA etc. just stops it dead. Be open. Have a portal that links to all sorts of stores like Amazon etc. Make your phone the one that works with everything.

I don't see it as a big deal. If the nexus one pushes other phone makers to make better andriod phones, it'll result in us having greater choice. Otherwise, they can just follow Apple's model of designing and making their own "google phone" with their choice of hardware.

An apple phone? <evil laugh> iPhone will never be a competitor, cause Microsoft has cheaper devices in the market with Windows Mobile.
Oh wait...

omganinja said,
They should have just made it another HTC phone with android, but being google that wasn't enough.

It pretty much is. Only difference is google are trying to sell direct and provide support. Both which aren't going so well so far.

I don't really see the nexus one as THE google phone. It's like their doing right what they didnt do the first time. The G1 release was kind of a mess and the phone wasn't so great.

But now that android has matured, it makes sense for google to go all out.

Good point.

Its a pity the Nexus One is going to cost so much unlocked. I had hoped Google would have subsidised the phone to get more sales rather than herd people into expensive data plans as its not like the phone actually costs $500 to build each unit ...

Until it becomes cheaper, I think I'll give the Nex[pensive]us One phone a miss as I never buy tied phones.

Any unlocked smartphone costs that much or more, Tai. When a phone is subsidized by a carrier (they aren't subsidized by the OEM), they are almost always locked to the carrier. You seem to be a bit confused on those points.

I love how they jump in with criticism. If they thought they could really profit from doing this with Windows Mobile then they would be right on it however public opinion seem to be that Windows Mobile sucks so MS has to now play the conscientious observer.

In the mobile market Google is a much safer position than Microsoft is that's for sure. In less than two years Google has managed to achieve half of Microsoft's current market share and they've been at it for ten years.

It's not that much of an issue. The biggest android phone manufacturer is HTC, and HTC are producing the nexus one as well.

I agree.

Pretty much all of the Android phones have "Google" branding on them. The Nexus One is more along the line of "Google's vision" for a smartphone. But they are including a big partner, and one that is highly regarded to the consumers. I don't think they are cutting out their other partners. If customers want Android, smartphone producers are going to want to put it on their hardware regardless.

While Microsoft has a point here, they are completely hypocritical. They had the PlayForSure program for third party MP3-player vendors, but released their own hardware solution, the Zune. They indeed proved that this business model is very difficult: PlayForSure was canceled (****ing of their partners), and the Zune is complete failure.

hagar said,
...the Zune is complete failure.

-1. Certainly not as popular as the iPod, but I would not say it is a complete failure.

KavazovAngel said,
The Zune a failure?

In the US it certainly is. When I was working in the electronics department at Walmart, we probably sold one Zune to every 10 or more iPods. Hell, we sold more Sansa and Creative MP3 players than Zunes. I'd even wager that we probably sold more Disney MixMax players than Zunes!

Actually the PlayForSure - Zune shows exactly this point. MS had to kill PlayForSure as they couldn't convince partners to license that while MS also ran against them head to head in the MP3 business...

It will be interesting to see if Google can keep its partners happy while trying to carve itsefl out in the mobile space. I think it is showing that Google just used the partners to drive early hype adoption and they might reel it in to being a Google only deal this year. We'll see...

BigBoobLover said,
In the US it certainly is. When I was working in the electronics department at Walmart, we probably sold one Zune to every 10 or more iPods. Hell, we sold more Sansa and Creative MP3 players than Zunes. I'd even wager that we probably sold more Disney MixMax players than Zunes!

Oh well. I guess that speaks for the entire country.

KavazovAngel said,
The Zune a failure?

Kind of. It has gained limited success in the US and Canada, and it's not even sold in Europe or anywhere else in the world. By itself it's not a failure, but I'd call it one if comparing it to many other media players, especially Apple's.

ahhell said,
Oh well. I guess that speaks for the entire country.

True that. It's probably more likely he lives in a bizarre hole where there are massive deviations, and Zune is a blinding success in the rest of the country.

Jugalator said,
True that. It's probably more likely he lives in a bizarre hole where there are massive deviations, and Zune is a blinding success in the rest of the country.

Fun fact: a product's success is not defined by it being the biggest selling item.

i.e. it doesn't matter that it sold less than the iPod. It only matters that it sold well. One Zune to ten iPods sounds bad, but it isn't, given the domination the iPod hold. That could still be about 10% of the market, which is pretty good.

The irony about the Zune's sales figures is in how many people critical of Microsoft are the same that will insist Mac OS doesn't have to dominate market share to be successful.

The Zune isn't focused on raping users with a massive number of applications; it's focused on sheer music presentation and organization with a unique interface, which it executes beautifully. I don't really give a damn if my ZuneHD doesn't have an app that let's me shake it to make farting noises or book plane tickets, I want it to play music.

BigBoobLover said,
In the US it certainly is. When I was working in the electronics department at Walmart, we probably sold one Zune to every 10 or more iPods. Hell, we sold more Sansa and Creative MP3 players than Zunes. I'd even wager that we probably sold more Disney MixMax players than Zunes!

yeah, cuz everyone who wants the latest technology goes to WalMart LOL
I almost fell out of my chair reading that one. LMAO

Yeah, this whole article is just bogus if you ask me.

1. It's not like Google brought out a competing phone at a much lower price point than others, it's right in line with everybody else's phone pricing. Let's not forget the unlocked version is $500+, so the only people buying it will be the one's that want to use a carrier other than who it's offered through... this isn't any different than the way Palm and RIM sell their devices directly unlocked at a higher price point than the carriers sell them for locked (except that Palm and RIM don't sell their software to other vendors of course).

2. It's not really a manufacturer decision whether to support Android or not, the carriers have a HUGE say in that, and carriers are going to do what consumers want (unless you're talking about AT&T of course).

3. There are dozens more reasons I could rant about, but I need ZZZZ.

well its abit like in motorsports, you have your factory race teams directly run by manufacturers, and the private teams who buy stuff from those manufacturers then race against them....

While it is a sticky situation and google hasn't made a very good start, just like apple did, it's better to at least give them the benefit of the doubt for attempting it. You can't really criticize them either when lagging so far behind as Microsoft are in the mobile and smart phone arena not only in software but not even with your own platform which doesn't necessarily mean favoritism will creep in. Heck not even like they're producing their own phone, just like Zune being made by Toshiba or whatever so they're still dead focused on android however messy they decide to make it. It just takes time for them to adapt to hopefully they can build on their own platform produce more nexus series devices as well as android platform.

I want to see an "open source" phone, where I can run Google Android, MS Windows Mobile, or Apple iPhone software etc :)

dvb2000 said,
I want to see an &quot;open source&quot; phone, where I can run Google Android, MS Windows Mobile, or Apple iPhone software etc :)

Oh my..... WHY? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

dvb2000 said,
I want to see an &quot;open source&quot; phone, where I can run Google Android, MS Windows Mobile, or Apple iPhone software etc :)

I come from the future. We have one of those phones. Unfortunately, hell has frozen over and destroyed most life on earth, so you have only 3 or 4 people to call.

dvb2000 said,
I want to see an &quot;open source&quot; phone, where I can run Google Android, MS Windows Mobile, or Apple iPhone software etc :)

Will it come with a driver for Windows to emulate kernel panic?