You know the firewall between Google and Motorola that Android VP Hiroshi Lockheimer talked about at MWC ? Well, the wall is there, for now, but it could easily go down in the future. That’s the gist of a report from the Wall Street Journal that quotes “people familiar to the matter” talking about the complicated relationship between Google and its subsidiary Motorola.
According to the report, at least some Google executives that are not working at Motorola “partially” consider the storied phone manufacturer an “insurance policy against the rising influence of Samsung”. Motorola’s strategic importance as a counterweight to Samsung’s influence on Android has long been discussed, but this is one of the few occasions when we learn with some degree of certainty that people at Google actually feel threatened by Samsung’s dominance.
The wall exists, but it could go down if the relationship between Google and Samsung changes
While for the moment Google does avoid offering Motorola any “special technological advantages” over the rest of the Android manufacturers, that could change if the relationship between Google and Samsung ever goes sour, said the insider quoted by the WSJ.
The Wall Street Journal is as solid as press gets – when the publication reports based on “people familiar with the matter”, you can be sure that the inside information is accurate and relevant. With that said, we have to keep in mind that today’s report could reflect a minority opinion inside Google and may it not necessarily be the view of the company’s leadership.
The relationship between Google and the largest Android manufacturer has been a source of controversy in the past months. Many have speculated that Google sees the rise of Samsung and the Korean company’s efforts to flesh out its own platform as a threat to Android and Google’s interests. The speculation heightened after the launch of the Galaxy S4, which Samsung seemingly tried to delimitate from the Android brand. However, the visit of Larry Page in South Korea from April and a series of statements from both sides temporarily quenched the speculation that there’s any hostility between the two companies.