I/O Aftermath: Can Google be Deemed Evil?
Steven is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has received a lot of negative flak this year that suggests evil doing. Many pundits have argued Google has undergone a transformation and taken a turn to the dark side. They would support this claim with examples how the Motorola (NYSE: MMI) acquisition crowds out the competition and how the convoluted share split represents greed at its finest. Others would defend Google in saying the Motorola acquisition was for the patent portfolio and the stock split is irrelevant because the public never had a majority voting interest. Now that the dust has settled around developments at Google’s recent I/O conference, is there further supporting evidence in the case, The People vs. Google’s Evil Empire?
Google I/O is an annual developer conference where fun, new, and exciting products are showcased to the public. If you are unfamiliar with the event, you can check out a roundup of developments here. This year was pretty exciting for the history books, with announcements ranging from the unusual Project Glass to a new Google-branded $199 tablet, Nexus 7. They also introduced this odd social streaming media ball-looking thing, dubbed Nexus Q. It’s a home entertainment media streaming device that integrates naturally with Android devices. It can stream videos and music to your TV or home theater system.
Do any of these announcements strike you as being inherently evil?
This is not the first time Google has developed hardware under the Nexus brand. They have co-produced a handful of smartphones in the past with manufacturers like Samsung and ASUS. Calming OEM concerns, none of these Google-inspired devices have been smashing successes. As for the newest lines of Nexus products, the 7 tablet and Q ball, Google has decided not to utilize Motorola for manufacturing. For the time being, Google continues playing nice with OEMs who develop for Android OS and thus far has avoided a full-scale OEM outcry.
Going the route of in-house manufacturing is probably a likely progression for Google, provided they do not sell Motorola’s hardware division. The verdict on whether they will or won’t divest remains to be seen. Should they go the route of in-house, OEMs likely will cry foul. However, OEMs appear to be losing some influence as more companies opt to develop products in-house. Take Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) for example. Their whole business model was developed on the OEM network to manufacture hardware that complies with the Windows OS framework. With the introduction of the Surface tablet due later this year, Microsoft has opted to no longer exclusively rely on OEMs. The move is likely to ruffle feathers, but more importantly, this action is a declaration that OEMs on their own are not living up to their standards. As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself. The Nexus 7 and Q are confirmations that Google believes they are better off being more involved in the process.
Google’s iconic slogan, Don’t be evil, ironically puts their motives more into question whenever new developments arise. I can’t blame them for desiring to make a more competitive product after giving OEMs a chance to shine. After all, the competition is fierce as ever and getting the execution done right is crucial.
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