Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

In what is the latest in a string of flops for the Nexus One smartphone, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says it will stop selling the device on its Website, nixing its direct-to-consumer strategy in favor of retail outlets.

This announcement, made by Google vice president of engineering Andy Rubin on the company's blog, comes shortly after Verizon Wireless and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) had changes of heart, announcing they wouldn't sell the Nexus One either. (See Gadget Watch: Nokia Has Symbian 3 Phone, Gadget Watch: Google's Nexus Spreads, and Sprint to Intro Nexus One.)

"While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not," Rubin writes. "It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from."

So instead, Google will work with the carriers to sell the product in their stores, the strategy it is already using with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD). (See Google Leans on Vodafone in Europe.) It won't give up online altogether, though. Rubin says it will use its online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.

When Google launched the Nexus One in January, many -- including handset makers building to Android -- saw it as a threat to their businesses. Their sometimes partner, sometimes competitor, also risked alienating wireless operators when it announced the direct-to-consumer strategy at the same time.

At that time, Google also said it planned to add more handsets to the storefront to "simplify" the buying process, a move that would circumvent the carriers altogether. (See Google Introduces 'Nexus One' Phone, Nexus One Won't Support AT&T's Fastest 3G Data Services, Open & Unlocked. So What?, AT&T Wants Nexus One Users' Cash, Gadget Watch: Google's Nexus Spreads, and Google's Nexus One: One Ring to Rule Them All.)

Weak sales of the Nexus One have likely convinced Google this isn't the best strategy. The Nexus One has struggled to woo consumers, while Android on the whole continues to make progress. According to the latest NPD Group Inc. figures, the operating system makes up 28 percent of the US smartphone market in terms of sales, beating the iPhone and trailing only BlackBerry . (See Android Dethrones the iPhone.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:36:12 PM
re: Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

I think this reflects the fact that consumers like to touch and try out devices before they purchase them, not just read reviews online. But, it's probably a bigger reflection of the fact that the Nexus One just isn't that great of a phone.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:36:11 PM
re: Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

Pretty much the end of any kind of open access push in the US from Google and others, oh well, nice idea, bad luck on the timing.

sburpeeduncan 12/5/2012 | 4:36:04 PM
re: Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

Ordered one the first day they were available and the process was painless, though delivery was a bit later than promised -- delivery guy said he'd been delivering the same parcels all day!

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:35:54 PM
re: Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

So you think Google is making a mistake dropping online sales?


sburpeeduncan 12/5/2012 | 4:35:49 PM
re: Google Nixes Nexus Web Sales

Don't know.  In my case, the delivery guy was busy because of the early adopters, so it doesn't contradict Rubin's statement.  I just found the process very convenient.

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