Google Payola Scheme Sullies Android's Success - InformationWeek

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3/25/2010
03:45 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Google Payola Scheme Sullies Android's Success

According to sources at two different wireless network operators, Google has been paying the carriers to deploy the Android platform. Perhaps that's why Android headlines have dominated trade shows this year, such as CES, Mobile World Congress and CTIA. With this knowledge, I believe it's fair to say Google has fully turned to the Dark Side.

According to sources at two different wireless network operators, Google has been paying the carriers to deploy the Android platform. Perhaps that's why Android headlines have dominated trade shows this year, such as CES, Mobile World Congress and CTIA. With this knowledge, I believe it's fair to say Google has fully turned to the Dark Side.Google is now Evil.

Today MocoNews cites sources from two separate U.S. companies who say that Google has paid them to adopt Android. What does that mean, exactly?

The terms and conditions of the agreements struck between handset makers, software providers and wireless network operators are rarely disclosed. More than three years after the announcement of the iPhone we still don't know how long the exclusivity agreement between Apple and AT&T will last.

How often do those deals include payments such as the oen described by MocoNews' sources, I can't say. That doesn't stop it from feeling icky.

Essentially, Google has paid for Android's success by doling out a portion of advertising revenue to the wireless network operators and handset makers who offer Android devices. Is that fair? Can Google do that? Is this a common practice? What company is going to say no to a revenue stream from Google?

I am sure if we ask Palm how it feels about this, it would offer a response that can't be printed here. Same goes for Nokia. Android's succes has come at great cost to both companies, as consumes across the U.S. have adopted Android handsets in swarms. Nokia's high-end smartphones are practically non-existant here, and Palm's current woes have been well documented in recent weeks.

When asked for a response to this issue, pretty much every company involved said "no comment."

Google said: ""Any terms of our agreements with partners are confidential."

In an email, Motorola spokesperson Kathy van Buskirk told InformationWeek, "As is our normal policy, we don't comment on details of our vendor or technology provider relationships."

T-Mobile spokesperson Erica Gordon said, "T-Mobile does not comment on their business relationships."

AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom said, "We don't comment on business relationships."

Sprint, HTC and Samsung have yet to offer anything in response to the story.

I really wonder if HTC, in particular, has taken payments from Google to ramp up production of Android handsets. HTC, perhaps more than any other company, has taken a strong liking to Android. It has announced no less than three Android handsets this year, including the Nexus One/Desire, Legend, and EVO 4G. All have received rave reviews.

In comparison, handset manufacturers have to pay Microsoft in order to license Windows Mobile.

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