Samsung’s Failure To Develop Great Software Made Google Feel Comfortable Selling Motorola

Samsung’s Failure To Develop Great Software Made Google Feel Comfortable Selling Motorola

JAY YAROW TECH  MAR. 15, 2014, 12:03 AM

Ever since Samsung became the dominant Android phone company, people have predicted that eventually Samsung would “fork” Android. 

“It’s not a matter of if, just when,” one source in the industry told us two years ago.

Forking Android would be like what Amazon has done with Android. Samsung would rip out all of Google’s core apps and replace it with its own set of applications. It would add its own user interface layer making Android look unique to Samsung.

It wasn’t just mobile industry sources who were worried about Samsung forking Android.

Executives at Google talked openly about Samsung gaining too much power over Android, Amir Efrati at The Information reports. He says this was part of the reason Google bought Motorola in a deal valued at $12.5 billion. It wanted leverage over Samsung.

Two years ago, the fear of Samsung forking Android made perfect sense. Samsung was the dominant Android phone company, but it looked like its future was uncertain. Samsung’s success wasn’t well understood, and people thought it could be dethroned by another Android phone company.

By creating its own version of Android, Samsung could stand out from the crowded field of Android phone makers. It would totally control its users just like Apple totally controls its iOS users.

For Google, this would have been a disaster. It would effectively lose control of its platform.

Samsung never did fork Android. It looks increasingly unlikely that it ever will fork Android.

Samsung may be very talented at quickly manufacturing hardware products, but it is no good at making software and applications (Walt Mossberg called the S4 “weak” and “gimmicky”). Therefore, it would be taking a huge risk by ditching the well-liked, and highly successful, Android platform for a platform of its own.

This is part of the reason Google felt comfortable selling Motorola. It didn’t need leverage against Samsung since Samsung failed to put any pressure on Google.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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