Why you should be afraid of Google’s expansion into hardware
#Google first made waves in the hardware market when it purchased #Motorola in 2011 for $12.5 billion. A company on the scale of Google getting involved in hardware put some established manufacturers on edge, though anxiety abated when Google later sold #Motorola to #Lenovo for $3 billion. Without being directly involved in hardware production, Google has continued to exert a huge influence over the market. Numerous hardware companies supported #Android early on, helping it become the de facto alternative to #iOS. Now, smartphone companies have no choice but to embrace Google. The development sounding alarms throughout the tech world, however, is the recent launch of the #Google#Pixel smartphone. The stars truly aligned for the Pixel’s launch, with missteps from Samsung and Apple providing an ideal window for the new device. While Samsung struggles with the worst manufacturing mistake in the history of the mobile industry, Apple has been under fire for its “courage” to release an iPhone without a headphone jack. The conditions are ideal for the Pixel to succeed. That thought should signal terror in the tech world. Playing favorites Google has a near monopoly of the mobile operating system marketplace, with about 88 percent of the market, according to the International Data Corporation. In the same way Google first destroyed its search engine competitors, I believe the company is on a path to dominate the hardware arena. Companies such as Samsung, LG, and others that have come to rely on the Android OS suddenly find themselves in a precarious position. They will have no way to compete once Google begins to give its own devices preferential treatment through software updates and new features. The last time Google attempted to break into mobile hardware with its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, Samsung seemed ready to jump ship from Android OS. The latest shot across the bow of the smartphone world puts companies such as Samsung and LG in a terrible spot, likely forcing them to seek business outside of the mobile marketplace. HTC — the original equipment manufacturer of the Pixel — has already started to diversify its portfolio by entering the virtual reality space with its Vive. Google’s products differ from competitors because the company can leverage the mountain of data in its ecosystem. The Pixel’s Google Assistant artificial intelligence surpasses Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri by drilling down into users’ existing Google accounts to personalize every interaction. Google has snared billions of users with its intuitive and essential services, giving it an incredible advantage over competitors. Some have dismissed the threat of Google’s hardware ambitions, pointing to legendary smartphone failures from Amazon and Microsoft. Others hope privacy concerns raised by Google’s growing digital hegemony will spark consumer backlash, hamstringing Google’s hardware push before it builds momentum.