A new report from the Wall Street Journal paints a worrisome picture at Google. Supposedly, Google is concerned that Samsung is growing far too powerful with their current Android hegemony, and may eventually leverage that power to renegotiate different terms. Currently, Samsung sells 40% of all devices that use Google's Android software. It's possible if this lead widens, Samsung may pressure Google to give them newer versions of Android ahead of other manufacturers, and/or might insist on more favorable mobile-ad revenue sharing deals. Here's a quote with some of Samsung's current market stats,
Google's own head of Android Andy Rubin recently praised Samsung's phenomenal success with Android, but also shared these concerns regarding Samsung's Android dominance. He did also comment that Google's acquisition of Motorola serves as an insurance policy to potentially stem the tide of any one manufacturer becoming too dominant in the Android market. This simply expresses the complicated nature of the relationship between Google and Samsung, especially since Google previously stated they do not intend to show any favoritism toward Motorola.Samsung last year shipped 215.8 million smartphones, virtually all of which were Android devices, representing 39.6% of the global market, according to research firm IDC. Apple shipped 136.8 million iPhones, or 25.1% of the smartphone market.
Samsung and Apple had been neck and neck in 2011, with each capturing around 19% of the surging market, IDC said.
Samsung has increased its lead in Android-based smartphones, claiming 40.2% of the market in the fourth quarter, up from 38.7% a year earlier, according to IDC. Huawei Technologies Co. was in second place, with 6.6%, the same as a year earlier.
In Android-based tablets, Samsung's share jumped to 27.9% in the fourth quarter from 15.6% a year earlier, according to IDC.
That moved Samsung past Amazon.com Inc., AMZN -0.94% whose Kindle Fire tablet uses Android, to become the biggest maker of Android tablets. Amazon had 21.8% of the market in the fourth quarter, down from 34.5% a year earlier.
In the mean-time, supposedly, Google has been meeting with the other Android OEMs to assist them in becoming more competitive in the Android market. That way they can insure there is enough competitive market pressure to help curtail the explosive growth of Samsung. One other strategy that Google will likely soon employ to help make the Android market more competitive is the rumored Motorola X Phone. It's entrance into the market later in the year will be designed to compete both with the Apple iPhone and with Samsung's Galaxy S devices. This way, Google intends to help bring some market balance to the Android world by creating another exciting Android product that consumers can rally behind.
[Editor's Note: Of course, some of these market fears could easily be fueled by analysts and news outlets themselves. Right now the relationship between Google and Samsung is strong, and it is really only pure speculation that Samsung might ever use their market dominance to pressure Google. It's entirely possible that Samsung could just as easily continue their highly profitable relationship without making waves. If their recent behavior of settling disputes amicably with LG is any example, that seems more likely.]