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Microsoft Takes Swipe At Google's Phone Plans

Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated news to come out of 2010 CES is the announcement of Google's Nexus One phone running Android. The "Google Phone" has been rumored since Google first announced their mobile platform and even though Google's partners have created some great devices, like the Motorola Droid, Google fans wanted to see a device from the mother ship. Microsoft isn't so sure that is a good move though.
Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated news to come out of 2010 CES is the announcement of Google's Nexus One phone running Android. The "Google Phone" has been rumored since Google first announced their mobile platform and even though Google's partners have created some great devices, like the Motorola Droid, Google fans wanted to see a device from the mother ship. Microsoft isn't so sure that is a good move though.The situation has been similar with Microsoft and its mobile platform. I've been closely following Windows Mobile since the beginning of the century and no matter what device came out, there always seemed to be some "What? Are you kidding me?" specification that a manufacturer took with a given feature. The early iPaq models were fast but had a 12bit color screen that looked comparatively anemic against 16bit color screens. The first Palm Treo's running WinMo were great except for the 32MB of RAM the device had. This has left many WinMo fans wanting a phone built by Microsoft itself, one that wouldn't skimp on the hardware.

Microsoft has steadfastly refused to build a phone though. The assumption is, once they do, they can kiss all of their OEM partners like HTC and Samsung goodbye. Robbie Bach, the head of the WinMo division at Microsoft spoke to BusinessWeek on Google's decision to jump into the hardware business and essentially compete with its partners.


"Doing both in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult," he said in an interview yesterday from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "Google's announcement sends a signal where they're going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we'll pursue them."

Google claims through a company spokesperson that their objective isn't to compete with their partners. It doesn't matter what the objective is though, that is exactly what they are doing. HTC, Motorola, Samsung and others are fighting each other tooth and nail for market share to come out with the best phone, perhaps the next iPhone, or at least the next RAZR. They don't need one of their operating system makers diving in with their own device.

At least Android is free to them. If Microsoft were to make their own phone, not only would HTC, Samsung and others have competition, they'd be paying Microsoft to compete with them.

Can Google be successful with this juggling act? On the face of it, I'd say it will be very difficult. However, one thing I've learned is no matter how hard I look at what Google is doing, I always seem to underestimate them.