Google reportedly concerned with Samsung's growing success in Android

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| February 25, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note II rear

Just like the smartphone platform race is currently being dominated by Android and iOS, the battle between device manufacturers also has two entities that are faring far better than their contemporaries. Apple is doing well thanks to the success of iOS and the fact that it's the only company that makes such products, and on the Android side of things, recent market share reports have shown that Samsung has a healthy lead on all other firms. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, that lead is making Google a tad uneasy.

Sources speaking to the WSJ claim that concerns about Samsung's growing success are freely talked about inside the walls of Google's buildings, with executives for the search firm becoming nervous that if Samsung continues to control more of the Android device maker pie, it could leverage its position to get special treatment from Google. For example, Samsung could ask for more revenue from Google's search business. Samsung reportedly receives around 10 percent of that revenue now, but it has indicated that it might ask for more as Google earns more cash from its other products. It's also said that Samsung could try to get new versions of Android before other device makers or attempt to preload more apps of its choosing onto Android hardware.

Both Google and Samsung have been preparing to be able to sustain themselves should the other company try any funny business. Google went out and acquired Motorola, which Android boss Andy Rubin reportedly once described as an insurance policy in case Samsung gains too much power, despite the fact that Rubin also complimented Samsung on its success. If Google feels that it needs to steal away some of Samsung's power, it could work with Moto to create Android hardware that's better than what other device makers are churning out. Meanwhile, Samsung has been investing in other platforms such as Windows Phone and Tizen, the latter of which it's been a primary backer of along with Intel.

One report from earlier this month showed that Samsung held a 21 percent market share just in the U.S. at the end of 2012, with the next closest Android manufacturer being HTC with just a 10.2 percent share. Samsung has seen quite a bit of success with its Galaxy line of Android products around the globe, particularly with the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, which were last quoted as having sales of over 30 million and 5 million units, respectively. Samsung is planning to unveil its new Galaxy S smartphone next month.

While we've yet to see Samsung make any public moves that would indicate that it plans to use its position in the market to get special treatment from Google, it's not hard to see why El Goog would be concerned. Many are hoping that Google will tap Motorola to make a new Nexus product, but right now Moto is said to be working on an "X Phone" handset with high-quality photo capabilities to compete against the iPhone and Galaxy line. In the mean time, Google is said to be hoping that other companies can make a dent in Samsung's market share. One firm that Google is reportedly pulling for is HP, which took the wraps off of its first Android tablet yesterday. What do you make of Samsung's success with Android and Google's concerns about it? Do you think another company will be able to be able to rise up and chip away at Samsung's market share?

Via The Verge, The Wall Street Journal