I. Android ?
Now we have introduced Android from a general point of view, we are going to assess the Google
product’s current position in its environment. First with an internal analysis, in order to set back the
Android project inside the Google core competencies. Then with an external analysis to locate
Android with its competitors, shareolders and market. At last, we will have all the elements needed to
formulate the strategy, by giving the actual state of the project.
Important dictinction must be made between smartphone OS, handset makers and
carriers. We will try to keep this distinction throughout the next explanations.
The best analogy can be made with the computers industry : OS providers keep the same,
(Microsoft Windows, Linux), handset makers are the computers makers (Asus, HP) and
carriers are the retailers (FutureShop).
And as in the computers industry, there are two types of OS providers :
•the companies which are both OS provider and handset maker (like Apple computers) :
-Nokia with Symbian (to some extent Nokia is the main Symbian contributor)
•the companies that only provide an OS (like Microsoft Windows) :
-Microsoft Windows Mobile
I.1 Android within its internal ﬁrm, Google
It is important to understand what are the aims, the objectives of Google with Android. As
mentioned by Richard Miner in its conference at Stanford (http://www.youtube.com/v/
WUrMI9ZGxQ8&hl=fr&fs=1), the Google “No Business Model” wants to break the monopole of a
few companies in the mobile phone OS industry in order to provide the customer with all that he
can expect and without any additional cost accorded to the Tim Wu’s ideas. Business speaking, the
Android chief product reminds us these two ﬁgures : in the world, there is 1.18 billion Internet users
and 2.7 billion mobile phone users. So if Google has made such a business with 1.18 billion
“customers”, what about with more than twice ?
Thus the business aim of Google with Android is to provide all the Google tools to the mobile users
thanks to an OpenSource Platform. To better visualize the organization and context, the diagram
below represents the Google’s core competencies based on “The Cored Competence of the
Corporation”, by C.K. Prahalad and G. Hamel, without and with Android.
Without Android :
Essentially available from semi-mobile or ﬁxed devices
Google Google Google Google
google.com Gmail Labs
Maps Documents Adwords AdSense
Search Engine WebApplications Business
Google Search Google Applications
Ranking Algorithm Computing Datawarehouse
Google Core Competencies without Android
With Android :
Google Google Google Google
google.com Gmail Labs
Adwords AdSense Maps Documents
Search Engine WebApplications Business
Google Search Operating System
Ranking Algorithm Computing Datawarehouse
Google Core Competencies with Android
With that two diagrams, we can argue that Google is acquering a new Core Product which is the OS
development, here (for the moment) in mobile phones. There is by now, no new business but
Android as an end product will be a new way for Google to broadcast all its others end products.
I.2 Within its external environment
To complete the current analysis of Google with Android, it seems useful to replace the product in its
market. For this, the ﬁgure below draws the Porter ‘s Five Force adding the complementary goods and
the channels forces.
Substitutes New Entrants Customers
•Microsoft Windows •Movial (New Linux-driven •Smartphone possessors
•Mac OS X OpenSource mobile platform) (developed countries mobile
•Linux Distribution users)
=> on compact Labtops
like the Asus EeePC
•Apple iPhone 3G
•LiMo (Linux Mobile)
Suppliers Channels Complementors
•Handset Suppliers from OHA : •From OHA : China Mobile, •Applications :
DoCoMo, Sprint, T-mobile, -Other companies
LG, Motorola, Samsung, HTC
•Software Companies from OHA :
Nuance, SoniVox, Livewire, ... •Out OHA : AT&T,Verizon
Android in its own environment, Porterʼs Force Model analysis.
•SemiConductor companies from
OHA : Intel, Marvel, nVidia, ...
We are now going to explain each component :
The ﬁrst customers targetted by Android are the smartphone users (with a carrier 3G subscription).
It essentially implies the developed countries population. Can the target be wider ? Even if Google
always mentions “mobile phone users” it seems difﬁcult to foresee Android OS on “simple” cell
phones. First because, cell phones don’t provide enough features to allow a great experience : small
screens, little processors and memories, ... Morevover despite of their continuous sales increase and
prices drop, the mobile industry is switching towards smartphones industry and their new potential
uses. For example, we can’t imagine using GoogleMaps on a 3x4 cm screen.
If we consider the whole target, we can argue that the customers power is not very great. Customers
buy their terminal in their carrier stores without selecting for each model its OS.
Nevertherless, the innovative ones and early adopters may constitute spokesmen for Google among
Google is now the last big entrant on the smart phones OS market. Apple iPhone and its OS was
released before and Symbian restructured itself before too, thereby the New Entrant power seems
weaker. Movial, a Linux distribution too is not well known at all and all the major actors are now in this
market organized in multiple alliances.
Can we foresee within a short term period, another device that can allow us using all the web wealth,
phoning and communicating easily between us ? As far as we know, cell phones OS can’t allow us to
do such things. However, the new compact labtops as the eeePC and their different OS : Microsoft
Windows, Linux,... might be consider as a substitute. They can provide full web, phoning with voIP,
communicate with different medias : Ethernet (wired), Wireless (WiFi and 3G with special cards).
Moreover the new development of WiMax networks will increase their appeal. So even if there are
possessed by only an innovative users communauty by now, such products with their OS may
become an alternative solution for a certain part of smartphone users.
The smartphones OS industry is highly competitive and rule breaking. Below lan overview of the main
competitors (from the wholly open to the wholly proprietary. See ﬁrst part for market share of
•Symbian : originally a ten-years old alliance between historic handset makers from the cell phones
industry, it is now since June 2008 an Open Source Foundation led by Nokia, its main actor. It claims
to be on 126 million smart phones with 550 000 developers associated (newsletter subscription). All
the main computing languages can be used to build applications and added to the 9,282 applications
already launched (30/day) based on the Q1 2008 Symbian ﬁgures. Symbian is widely spread in Europe
thanks to Nokia leadership.
•Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS : the Canadian ﬁrm claims to have 3 million subscribers to its
developper newsletter. Applications can be developed using Java, 60 are already available. BlackBerry
becomes more and more popular in North America.
•Microsoft Windows Mobile
•Apple iPhone 2.0 OS. Ofﬁcial applications plus jailbreak ones....
Noticed that for each of this actor, at least one OS related change was introduced during the past
As a supplier for Google Android we have reported all the companies that allow Google to put its
OS on. And as a retailer, the companies that broadcast Android. Now it is easy to argue that both
handset makers and carriers belong to the two categories. Nevertheless as suppliers refers to an
input we can use this distinction :
Input (from) Google Android Output (through)
Handset makers Carriers
Thus, this implies a sequential process but not such sequential as it seems, we will see after....
The suppliers come from the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) and we can say that it is a Strategic
Alliance built and lead by Google, This Strategic Alliance can be viewed as OneToOne (Google and
the others) and Capacibility Transfer (from the others to Google) since Google reported that
unusually, handset makers revealed a lot of their product speciﬁcations.
The suppliers have a huge power because as the objective for a supplier is to sell the maximum
amount of its product, the OS is an ingredient of this success but not the biggest one. Many handset
makers belong to different Alliances, Symbian, OHA, LiMo,.... So for them the risk is not as big as an
The main channels are the carriers. If Google wants its OS spread, it must be conﬁgured on
smartphones which must (the huge majority) be sold through carriers offers. We can noticed that
most of the Android users carriers come from the Open Handset Alliance with the main one : China
Moreover, the carriers choose the smartphones they will sell so it implies also the OS installed on it
in which they have to made some changes on the phone according to their network and
commercial technical features.
So they introduce the ﬁnal switching cost to the customer by setting the sale price, the features and
restrictions installed by defaults on the smartphone. Consequently they have a strong power over
Android and its success.
The main complementary goods for a OS smartphone it is its applications (like in the OS computer
industry). As Richard Miner mentioned, the functionalities increase while the cost decrease and so the
more expensive becomes the software development cost. For this we can distinguish three different
•the “inside” applications. Even if we are analyzing the external forces over Android, we can argue that
GoogleMaps, YouTube,... can be seen as external applications for Android as they are available on the
•the other companies applications like for example eBay, Facebook, ...
•the third applications, the main complementors. It includes all the applications developed by the OS
communauty and based on the tools available for doing this; often called Software Development Kit
The third one is the main speciﬁc and thus source of distinct innovations for the different OS
providers. Thus in order to gathering the hugest communauty, a dramatic competition occurs with
some incentive rewards :
•Google offers $10 million for the top 50 Android applications
•RIM propose a venture company partnership with $150 million investment
•Apple propose a similar partnership with $100 million.
According to this, the complementors power is also important for Android. But conversely to the
other powers, this role has the same impact for all the OS companies. We can make an analogy with
the video game sector. Without good games and blockbusters for its console, a video game console
maker will not sell a lot of its product.
I.3 And now...
Now, let’s take Eric Schmidt’s, Google CEO, chair. Here are the indicators that we know :
•Android release, intially foreseen for the second 2008 half, will be delayed probably for early
2009. So we are not sure being able to release our product before Xmas Eve.
•Some developpers claim founding some difﬁculties with Android SDK
•The carriers partners experience some difﬁculties to adapt Android to their speciﬁcal needs before
releasing the phone. The main carrier, China Mobile, reported ﬁnding huge difﬁculties with Chinese
keyboard for example.
•Apple iPhone 3G has just released its new product with a big commercial success (GPS).
•Nokia restructured its software activities with its Symbian Foundation.
•The new Gartner Q1 2008 smartphone companies market share reports that :
Market Share % Comparison to Y-1
Nokia 45.2 -
RIM 13.4 +
Apple 5.3 / (ﬁrst year)
Sharp 4.1 -
Fujitsu 4.1 -
Others 27.9 -
Q1 2008 Gartner report, smartphone handset makers market share
•Adding geophical repartition, Android has to compete in the USA with RIM and Apple, and in
Europe with Symbian and Apple.
The main Android handset makers partners, LG, Samsung, Motorola and HTC shared less than 30%
market share. But compete very well on cell phones (8.4%, 15.9%, 9.4%, /, respectively) and their
smartphones market sales in Q1 2008 were relatively good : Samsung, 8.6% and Motorola 2.6%.
Moreover they are popular in Asia.
•Analyst reports : “A lack of vertical integration seems to be the major problem the Android platform
is facing at this time”, comparing to Apple Vertical Integration that might establish an installed based of
10 million devices until early 2009 (http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38070/145/).
•There is an appeal and support from the innovator users.
•OHA succeeds building a good community which provides feedbacks and good
•Android OS interests new handset makers like NEC and HTC and carriers like Verizon.
•“Android comes from Google”.
•Android applications are already used on the others platforms (GoogleMaps,
II. So...what to do ?
Here are the main decisions than our team will take to keep the Android project on rails and achieve
its objectives :
As a qualitative and quantitative pool of applications has a great impact of the popularity of Android
OS, we keep building a strong communauty of developers.
It implies taking into account all the feedbacks relative to the Software Development Kit and all the
other tools or modules in the core technology.
Moreover, it is important to give them all the Google Applications’ API (Application Programming
Interface) for the communauty to develop all the potential uses, for example with Google Lively (a
Google virtual life simulator).
Thanks to this it will maintain a good image and popularity for Android and thus we will rely on them
to be the spokesmen over the other customers and like this reach the early adopters.
Analyzing the last Q1 2008 Gartner ﬁgures, the handset makers of the OHA are not the main actors
of the smartphones market. However it is obvious that Nokia, Apple and RIM will keep their own OS.
It seems then essential to build stronger relationships with LG, Motorola, HTC and Samsung, the
main partners. Looking at the 30% of “others” of the Gartner Report, and adding Fujitsu and Sharp it
will be a good idea to attract them in the OHA especially when we know their popularity in Asia. At
last a good partner too can be Sony Ericsson despite the fact that their new smartphone (XPERIA
X1) will be based on Microsoft Windows Mobile.
These partnerships must be conclude keeping in mind the fact that too many partnerships will
decrease the Android efﬁcency and deployment since it implies more cooperation and work between
Google and these handset makers.
Exclusive applications partnerships for Google Android Platform.
Applications or partnerships for music, games and APPLICATIONS store.
Exclusive partnership with one carrier in order to reduce ﬁrst delays
iPhone Dev Center
Apple - iPhone - Caractéristiques techniques
III.2 Cell phone industry
Portelligent Trends in Cell Phone Memory - 2007
Cell phone market Q1 growth fastest since 2006 | Technology | Reuters
Q1 2008 cell phone sales up 14% YTY | IT Facts | ZDNet.com
Nokia Continues To Dominate Mobile Phone Market -- Mobile Phones -- InformationWeek
Nokia has 39% of cell phone market in Q1/08 | Flash Enabled Mobile and Consumer Devices
III3 Google Android
Google Android vs Apple iPhone : la guerre ne fait que commencer - Net-Marketing.fr
Google: Android Has No Built-in Business Model | Epicenter from Wired.com
YouTube - Android: Building a Mobile Platform to Change the Industry
Quatre prototypes de smartphones Android présentés en images par Neteco.com
Simon Wilkinson (Purple Labs) : "Je crains que Google ait une attitude prédatrice avec Androïd" -
Interview sur Journal du Net Solutions
La revue de presse en ligne du 09/11/2007
Google accentue ses efforts de promotion d'Android
Android (mobile device platform) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Open Handset Alliance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Open Handset Alliance
YouTube - A ﬁrst hand look at building an Android application
YouTube - Androidology - Part 1 of 3 - Architecture Overview
III. 4 Microsoft
Windows Mobile for Business
Symbian: Developer: home
Symbian : Nokia unit les fabricants de GSM contre l'Android de Google - Trends.be
Symbian against Open Source (Google Android) - Canal de Noticias Moveis | PhoneReport
III.6 RIM’s Blackberry
BlackBerry - BlackBerry Developer Program | Membership Programs and Third-Party Support
BlackBerry Partners Fund : 150 millions de dollars pour attirer les développeurs
III.7 Smartphone industry
The Smartphone Market Evolves
Techworld - Nokia ranks at top globally in Q1 smart-phone sales
Smartphones - Basic Search Results - eMarketer
Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Grew 29 Percent in First Quarter of 2008
3GWeek - Asia’s Mobile News | Gartner’s Q1 2008 report on smartphone
Global smartphone sales up 29% in Q1 2008, iPhone gets 5.3% share of global market | IT Facts |
Search Results for 'smartphone' - The New York Times
iPhone has 19 percent of smartphone market - Wireless- msnbc.com
Symbian Fast Facts Q1 2008
Smartphone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Symbian reste le premier système d'exploitation pour smartphones par Neteco.com
Linux mobile: vers 31% du marché des smartphones dès 2012? - businessMOBILE.fr
gartner progression marche smartphone q1 2008 - GPS Industries dépose une plainte pour
contrefaçon de brevet contre ProLink et d'autres parties
Smartphones: Industry Report
Mobile thoughts: Predictions for smartphone industry in 2008
III.8 Tim Wu
Tim Wu, Freedom Fighter