Light Reading

Analysts: Google Plans Lack Substance

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
11/7/2007
50%
50%

As much of the technology sector goes ga-ga for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) after this week's announcement of the Android open software initiative, industry analysts are excited, but many aren't yet sure exactly what to make of it. (See Google Makes Mobile Move, Google: Android's Not Evil, and Android's Data Impact.)

With the free Linux-based, open-source Android operating system, Google aims to speed the development of Internet applications for mobile handsets. And the Internet giant has galvanized an impressive list of mobile players to support the Android platform and kickstart the Open Handset Alliance . A few of the big shots in the alliance are China Mobile Communications Corp. , NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM).

But analysts are not clear on exactly what Google's proposition is, and some doubt Google's ability deliver on vague goals related to mobile advertising.

"It's difficult to analyze because they haven't given much detail," says John Delaney, principal analyst at Ovum Ltd. . "How much of this is about posturing and how much is it about delivering something new? We're always in danger of ascribing omnipotence to Google."

Delaney doesn't think Google's proposal to reduce the fragmentation in mobile phone software is actually all that new -- that's what Sun Microsystems Inc. has attempted to do with mobile versions of Java.

Vincent Poulbere, (another) principal analyst at Ovum, agrees that Google's plan lacks details.

"The announcement comes as a criticism of existing platforms -- namely Symbian Ltd. ," says Poulbere. "But it's an announcement without much concrete in it yet."

Ultimately, there is potential for Google to replicate its wired Internet advertising-based revenue model in the mobile sector. But the mobile advertising business model won't be a near-term reality because of the relatively low use of mobile Web services.

"That's a very steep hill to climb," says Delaney. "As more of [Internet applications] happen on the mobile phone, the more conducive it will be to advertising."

One analyst also questions how Google's ad-supported Web services will work for mobile pre-pay customers, which make up roughly 70 percent of the world's mobile users. In many markets, operators do not require pre-pay customers to register their personal details, which will make targeting those people somewhat of a challenge.

"Web content is not friendly for pre-pay customers," says Dean Bubbley, founder of Disruptive Analysis Ltd. . "Perhaps [Google] will be happy chasing after the same 30 percent of high-end contract customers [as everybody else]."

The one thing that didn't surprise analysts about the online giant's mobile move is the absence of a Google handset. They say the device manufacturing business is just too far removed from Google's business model, which is based on advertising revenues. (See The G-Phone Cometh, 3G G-Phone, G-Phone, No Strings, Google Phone: Out of India?, and Google's Mobile Hiring Frenzy.)

"I never thought they would develop a phone," says Delaney. "It's clear why Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) would, because it makes most of its money from hardware. Google doesn't make money from hardware or end customers."

"Google isn't looking to offer just a product," says Frank Dickson, chief research officer at MultiMedia Intelligence . "What they're doing is allowing people to monetize other applications."

As for Google's mobile infrastructure ambitions, those plans remain elusive. Google has indicated an intention to participate in the upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 700 MHz spectrum auction. And it has invested in femtocell startup Ubiquisys Ltd. . (See 'Open Access' Gets Closer, FCC Straddles Open Access Issue, Google Eyeing UK Broadband?, Apple Joining Consortium Bid for 700MHz?, Google Pledges $4.6B for Spectrum, and Femtocell Startup Pockets $25M.)

One analyst says that being some form of infrastructure provider is a more likely fit with Google's business model than making a mobile handset.

"Google has an interest in getting as much spectrum operating under an Internet model rather than a telecoms model," says Ovum's Delaney. "That fits with what they do. It's about furthering access to the Internet."

Bubbley at Disruptive Analysis is not convinced Google will actually become a mobile network operator, though. Rather, he could see Google partnering with a mobile operator to bid for spectrum in the U.S. or other markets.

At the very least, calling the mobile industry's soothsayers about Google's mobile move has produced an entertaining list of sound bites (or clichés). Here's a choice few:

  • "Google is trying to chuck a boulder into the pond of the mobile industry." — John Delaney, principal analyst, Ovum

  • "This is Google pulling its chair up to the mobile dinner table and saying, 'Thank you, can I have my share now?' " — Shaun Collins, senior analyst, CCS Insight

  • "This is a huge warning shot across the bows of everybody in the industry." — Collins, CCS Insight, again

  • "We see a battle of giants." — Vincent Poulbere, principal analyst, Ovum

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:59:13 PM
re: Analysts: Google Plans Lack Substance
Here's a columnist saying that if Android is to succeed, Google ought to become a wireless carrier:

http://www.mercurynews.com/col...

My opinion -- having Google in control of so many facets (the software, the apps, the network, the subscriptions) just isn't healthy, no matter how "open-source" it all is.
lrmobile_mosheb
50%
50%
lrmobile_mosheb,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:59:07 PM
re: Analysts: Google Plans Lack Substance
Google need not be in control of everything you mention in order to succeed, which in their case will be measured in volume of mobile traffic directed through their system to create ad revenues. Hpefully, just coming up with the ecosystem and the core OS should be sufficient to warrant wide adoption.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Wagner’s Ring
Business Value Trumps Moving Bits for Virtual Networks

7|7|15   |   01:22   |   (0) comments


At the recent Open Networking Summit, carriers described how they're focused on increasing revenue rather than just improving technology. This requires cultural changes, which can be more difficult than technology changes.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from the Big Telecom Event 2015

7|7|15   |   2:28   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Carl Goldschmidt provides new product updates, including the RXT modular test platform and TX300s. With the latest technology in pluggable physical interfaces, the RXT platform combines multiple technologies with testing range from 10 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s. The TX300s is an "All-in-one" advanced multi-service test platform from 64 Kbit/s to 100 Gbit/s that ...
LRTV Custom TV
Light Reading Interviews MRV: 2015 Big Telecom Event

7|7|15   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


Scott St. John, SVP of Global Sales & Service, discusses MRV's customer-centric culture, the new OptiPacket OP-X1 100G access platform, and recent customer wins with Light Reading at BTE 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Procera: Enhancing the Subscriber Experience

7|7|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Hear from Procera on the latest in Subscriber Experience solutions. Learn how Procera's RAN Perspective technology helps network operators monitor and manage network traffic, in real-time, solving congestion and other network issues.
Between the CEOs
HP's Prodip Sen: The NFV Journey

7|7|15   |   21:39   |   (0) comments


Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2015 Winners' Video

7|7|15   |   08:34   |   (2) comments


Hear what the Leading Lights 2015 winners had to say after they picked up their awards in Chicago.
LRTV Documentaries
PSA: The Perils of a Hyper-Connected Society

7|6|15   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


A public service announcement calling attention to the perils of a hyper-connected society.
LRTV Interviews
Guavus Takes Analytics on the Road

7|6|15   |   4:09   |   (3) comments


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina tells Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders how the analytics tools developed for telcos are applicable to the transportation industry.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mellanox's New 25/50/100Gb/s Ethernet Products

7|6|15   |   2:44   |   (0) comments


Mellanox offers a complete 10/25/40/50/56/100Gbit/s solution that delivers industry-leading performance, scalability, reliability and efficiency for optimal application performance and data center ROI.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Arista's CloudVision

7|6|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading’s founder and CEO, about Arista’s CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Equinix walks through the past four digital economy eras from computing to network to connected to today's interconneted world.
Hot Topics
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
IBM Sows Seed for New Telco Unit, Plans NFV/SDN Push
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/6/2015
What the Helio? MVNO Is Back After First Flop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/6/2015
FCC Chairman Talks Up SDN/NFV
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/2/2015
A&E Launches Lifetime OTT Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/3/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cats with Phones