Light Reading
Industry analysts are not yet sure what to make of Google's Android open software initiative

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
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
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Fiber Revival at Deutsche Telekom
Iain Morris, 8/25/2014
M2M's In Fashion: Wearables Play the US Open
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed