When I began the series of posts on Google vs. Android I put forward some questions about the business logic of Google becoming an operating system supplier, especially as that role can be seen as being counter-productive to Google’s strategy.
I noted three strategy costs associated with a zero priced systems software bundle.
- A opportunity cost with other platform vendors, namely Apple who might retaliate against Google’s core business.
- Versions of the software being usurped and modified to provide distribution to Google’s competitors.
- Damage to Google’s brand and positioning and negotiating power in relation with other members of their value chain.
More fundamentally, Google-as-systems-software is asymmetric to Google-as-cloud-software and contradicts the value proposition that Google enables value in the web not in accessing the web. Android appears to be a nod in the direction that systems software still matters.
In my numerous posts on the need for integrated development