Irony Defined: Samsung Turned Down the Option to Buy Android Before Google


Editor in Chief
Staff member
Premium Member
Dec 30, 2010
Reaction score
Austin, TX

This is a great example of both irony and the fact that sometimes "truth is stranger than fiction." It turns out some of the history of Android is much more "storied" than we might have originally assumed. Apparently, Google wasn't Andy Rubin's first choice to get his Android project off the ground way back in 2005. In a supremely ironic twist, Andy Rubin originally took his Android concept to South Korea to secure financing from Samsung.

Rubin wanted a hardware manufacturer to get a crack at his Android smartphone idea first. Unfortunately and (paradoxically) fortunately, Samsung laughed Andy Rubin and team out of the meeting. Two weeks later, Andy Rubin met with Larry Page who decided not only to fund the project, but to buy it whole. Eventually, under the arm of Google, Andy the Android would go on to become the dominant smartphone platform on the planet. Furthermore, it got there and has seen the most success because of Samsung hardware.

Here's a quote with a few more interesting tidbits,

Encircled by 20 Samsung executives, Rubin pitches the Android idea relentlessly, but instead of enthusiasm and questions, the only response he gets is dead silence. Then, Samsung’s team of high-ranked executives voices what seemed obvious then:

“‘You and what army are going to go and create this? You have six people. Are you high?’ is basically what they said. They laughed me out of the boardroom. This happened two weeks before Google acquired us,” Rubin later recollects.

Indeed, in early 2005 Larry Page would agree to meet with Andy Rubin, and after hearing about his work on Android, he not just helps get the money - he decides that Google will acquire Android. The feeling that the mobile industry has had to change has already been irking Google's cofounders, and in Mountain View Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been looking for that change for a while, particularly concerned that it might be the then big giant Microsoft that will get there first. Luckily, Rubin came in at the right time.

Google bought Android for around $50 million and incentives at the time, and by the middle of 2005 the whole 8-person Android team was transferred in Mountain View.

It's interesting to speculate about, but ultimately, things probably worked out for the best. Under Samsung, the Android OS might not have been given the chance to grow and thrive. Because Google was willing to take a gamble by giving Android away, it developed across multiple OEMs. Although Samsung ended up with the greatest success from Android, if it weren't for all of the other companies trying to make Android devices succeed, then Android might not have flourished.

Also, as it turns out, Samsung was able to gain the most from Android, without ever having to buy it, develop it, support it, or advertise it (directly) themselves. Not a bad outcome really... and the future is still bright for Andy the Android!

Source: PhoneArena