- Samsung’s phones have been losing ground to the iPhone.
- Google is worried Samsung’s lack of sales could hurt its mobile ad business.
- Google’s strategy to fend off Apple is to gamble big on its own hardware.
Google is in the process of implementing what could be called a “Google-first” strategy that will see a number of its employees who work on services for non-Google devices shift to working specifically on the company’s own hardware.
From Android Auto to Google Assistant, Google creates services used for a variety of non-Google-made technology. One of the biggest partnerships the company has is with Samsung — a phone manufacturer that relies on Google’s Android OS. Samsung is an important partner to Google because it allows Google to load a bevy of revenue-generating Google apps on its devices.
Lately, Samsung has been on the decline, losing ground to Apple and its ever-popular iPhone. According to The Information, this loss in market share to Apple has Google worried about its mobile ad business. Although Google is the default search engine on both Samsung and Apple phones, the ad sales Google earns from Apple are far less than what it earns from Android devices. This is because Google gives Apple a large cut of the revenue to be the default search option, a deal that is currently facing legal scrutiny with the DOJ.
With Samsung’s falling numbers and the growing number of antitrust lawsuits, Google believes its best course of action is to double down on its own devices. According to The Information, Google Search Executive, Sissie Hsiao, told colleagues that Google’s CEO believes that the company making its own devices “best positions the company to be protected” from market shifts in the mobile market.
As a result of these developments, Google has decided to double down on its hardware. The Mountain View-based organization is doing this by moving product development and software engineering staff off of services for non-Google hardware and redirecting them to working on Google-branded devices.
This shift won’t necessarily be reducing the support of non-Google Android devices. The Information points out that Google singled out Samsung, OnePlus, and Xiaomi as premium partners that will get the best Google services. However, this leaves out a large number of other manufacturers, which suggests that these other companies may not get the same level of attention.
Despite the Pixel still being far behind Samsung’s and Apple’s flagships, Google is not giving up on the Pixel line. In fact, Google expected that the Pixel 7 series would be its most successful phone launch to date. And with Google’s increased focus on its own devices, its products should benefit from the investment. But that may come at the cost of some of its other projects.