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Whatever happens to Samsung, Android is safe

Chris Nerney | Aug. 21, 2014
Whether Samsung sticks with Android or veers away to push Tizen, Google and its open source mobile OS should continue to flourish.

But wait. It turns out the Samsung Z was indefinitely postponed less than three weeks ago, and just the other day Samsung said the Z was dead.

The reason given for the delay was that Samsung wanted more time to "enhance the Tizen ecosystem." In other words, the issue isn't the phone -- the hardware -- it's the platform. Reading between the lines (and applying a little common sense), it's clear that there aren't enough apps for Tizen to make it attractive to consumers. Apparently the Samsung brand doesn't carry much weight with developers.

Which doesn't mean Samsung won't sell Tizen phones. It will, but they're more likely to be low end, where competition is fierce and margins are razor thin. Given that Microsoft and BlackBerry have been at the smartphone game for a little while now and share about 5% of the market between them, it's not likely that Samsung's Tizen ambitions are keeping Google executives up at night.

Samsung could take down Android with it
This is a scenario suggested recently by The Motley Fool. Not only did Samsung report sharply declining revenue and profits in the second quarter, the company warned that more tough times are ahead. "It is difficult to expect earnings to improve from the second quarter," Samsung senior vice president Kim Hyun-joon said in a conference call following the Q2 earnings release.

Meanwhile, other Android manufacturers such as HTC and LG rebounded in the second quarter, hinting at a slow shift in the market in favor of Samsung competitors.

Which is why Samsung's declining fortunes -- assuming they continue -- shouldn't have a lasting impact on Google or Android, any more than the market rise and fall of numerous PC manufacturers affected Microsoft, which didn't care whether Gateway, Dell, or HP sold Windows computers as long as consumers bought them.

Samsung may not dominate the smartphone market forever. But Android will be a lot harder to dislodge.


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