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Google is Becoming the New Microsoft

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When Google announced the Android operating system, the world was abuzz with the news. Finally, phones would be open-source. Users of those phones would not be screwed by giant heartless corporations. And the world would be a better place. Google, everyone knew, would never become the new Microsoft.

Now, as the shiny new phones are rolling off the assembly line, Google appears to be following Microsoft's footsteps. And when you see only one set of footprints in the sand, you know something is definitely wrong with the picture here.

Last year, eager consumers grabbed up the first Android-powered phones. Those phones featured Android 1.0, sometimes 1.5 or 1.6. Then, Google and Verizon launched the Droid, which featured Android 2.0 software. Finally, Google launched the Nexus One Device which has a stable version of Android 2.1.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, thousands of customers who rushed out to buy their phones so they could have the "Google experience" are now left to wander the Interwebs searching for information about exactly when their phones will receive the latest Android updates. (Quick, do a search for Android 2.0 update and you'll soon discover what I mean.)

Phone companies blame Google. Google isn't talking. But it seems that Google is walking the path of Microsoft. If people want to upgrade, they have to buy a new phone, preferably directly from Google. Hasn't Microsoft become embroiled in lawsuits and felt the whooshing air as customers run for the door to embrace other companies? And didn't they experience firsthand how quickly their stock price could tumble while their "on top of the world, too big to fail" egos were crushed?

Why hasn't Google learned from Microsoft's mistakes? Or, has Google finally reached the point where they have entered the ego bubble? Word is spreading, Google, and the word is not positive. Release the Android 2.1 to your first customers, or at the very least have the decency to issue a public statement indicating why you haven't yet, and when (if ever) customers can expect to receive it.

Otherwise, when you look back and see only one set of footprints, you'll know that Microsoft is comforting you through your troubled times. After all, they've walked this path before and learned those mistakes already.

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  • mikhfarah

    This essay is straight-out ignorant crap. Google releases android first to the oem manufacturers THEN to the public. Then the manufacturers modify android by adding their own proprietary drivers and deploy android to the users in upgrade downloads. If it takes a while for the manufacturer’s to deploy their versions of android 2.1 it is their fault and not Google’s.

  • That is not always the case. Google is responsible for providing OTA (over-the-air) updates of phone software on phones that feature the “Google experience” (that is, they have the Google logo on them). The MyTouch 3G (T-Mobile), Droid (Verizon), Nexus One (Google) are three such phones that feature the Google experience. According to the manufacturers and service providers, the reason the MyTouch 3G (of the three mentioned) has not received the 2.0 update is because Google has not deployed the upgrade and no word has been given as to when–or if–this will happen. The Droid and Nexus One both come with 2.0 (or 2.1) preinstalled, but I can only guess as to whether the Droid would receive further updates given how Google has treated MT3G purchasers.

  • random

    Where does it saythat google does thoes updates are you forgetting that its the carriers that do the OTA, just go read the tmobile forums you told people to search.do more research next time

  • watermonkey

    yeah man do your research, google ain’t responsible for ota’s and if you did a little more research you would know that most phones are getting there updates soon.

  • Android 2.0.1 Is Rolling Out to T-Mobile Android Users

    T-Mobile Android General Help

    Note that the comments (or “official rumors”, since no official statement has been released by T-Mo, Google, or HTC) indicate that the issue lies with Google releasing the OTA to T-Mobile. Some “rumors” indicate that Verizon struck a deal with Google to hold the Android 2.x update from other phones to give the Droid some traction.

    I most love that the folks commenting chose to remain anonymous rather than supporting their own blanket claims with any evidence. Please provide a link to the official statement from T-Mobile, Verizon, Google, HTC, or Motorola (or any other credible source) indicating that Google has no responsibility for updates to these phones.

  • afra

    Seriously why do so many writers are publishing crap? At least first do a research or google your subject before publishing any sort of not true b.s.

  • So far, four anonymous commenters without a single shred of evidence disputing my claim except that they claim it is wrong. How about you post a link to the official statement from Google supporting your point of view.

    I am unable to point to any official statement because I have been unable to find one, so I am forced to show page after page of “unofficial rumors” and conflicting information.

    So: afra, random, watermonkey, mikhfarah–until you (and others who will post on here anonymously) both back up your assertion with an official statement and stop hiding behind anonymous postings, I’m forced to merely repeat that my article is researched and accurate.

    The “official rumors” are that Google is holding back the updates, and there is no official statement from any company providing evidence to the contrary.

  • wade

    Honestly.. 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1. Who cares!
    Do to poor AT&T coverage, I was forced to switch from my IPhone, to a Droid. If you have never had an IPhone, you might like the Droid. But if you have, you will find out that the Google OS, is a real disappointment. I will continue to suffer with this junk OS and phone until someone other than AT&T gets the iPhone.

  • Matt Lavin

    I think it is too soon to say google is like microsoft. However, I agree that it would do google a world of good to provide a roadmap on how they intend to support or not support devices moving foward. As a droid owner I know that my device will at least be upgraded to 2.1 at some point and will get flash 10 capabilities in 2010. If i had an older phone I would be annoyed but at this point I have faith that google will offer them something.
    Lets try and be fair to Google, they are years behind in experience providing a mobile platform and there is a lot of work to be done. For example the app store is pretty unorganized, and google doesnt even have great native apps for their own services like picasa or gmail (i cant search my google inbox from my google phone- kind of an odd oversight from a search engine company). But again, i have faith that these things will come in time. If they dont than Stephen is right – google will lose market share but lets not jump ship just yet.

    I am also curious – Stephen, what phone are you using?

  • Matt: I’m using an MT3G, running 1.6. I’m able to search my inbox from the phone by hitting the menu button from within the phone’s inbox, hitting “search” and then typing a search term like I would from within my inbox on a laptop.

    I would be curious to hear if that is different on the Droid, as I thought the apps worked the same on the different phones operating the same system. I can’t imagine that Android 2.0 would remove that search function.

    I’ve also found that you have to have the settings set to synchronize gmail for the search functionality to work properly.

    The main point I tried to make in the article is that Microsoft suffered precisely because they didn’t understand that customers wanted transparency and support, the “built-in obsolescence” and constant upgrade purchases didn’t work, causing many of their customers to seek alternatives that severely damaged the overall profitability (and stock price) of Microsoft. Google, it seems, is beginning to walk down that same path and hopefully my article helps to serve as an early warning for them to avoid that.

    Wade: Sorry to hear your Droid experience hasn’t been good. Personally, I don’t like the slide out keyboard and have been very happy with the onscreen one. I have heard that the Droid will eventually have multi-touch and some other “iPhone” like functionality, assuming the upgrades are deployed to past purchasers.

  • wade

    I forgot to mention, I agree this article.
    Sorry I was sounding like whiner. I just haven’t been pateint.
    Matt is correct, Google is just getting started, and have much
    to learn. I need be pateint and it will improve

  • i don’t know about google becoming Microsoft but Facebook is feeling a lot like AOL.