So, today Google announced that they will buy Motorola Mobility, subject to regulatory approval (that will be interesting to watch).
For me, this has signalled the death of Android, purely for the reason that third-party manufacturers now have a less certain future (as if the patent disputes weren’t enough of a problem).
Google first, everyone else second!
We are already seeing this problem rear its ugly head with Android 3.x. Google has been very slow to release the source code for this, leaving it in the hands of a few key partners for some time. This will only get worse, as Google will have a vested interest in keeping the source code close to retain a competitive advantage over the third-party manufacturers.
Manufacturers are going to be looking for alternatives, and FAST!
Admittedly, Motorola have certainly had some of the top selling Android handsets (along with Samsung), but their sales numbers are most certainly dwarfed by those of the iPhone.
Google’s chest-beating patent war cries are starting make more sense, as this will be their tack when it comes to regulatory scrutiny, trying to deflect from the fact they ultimately “competitively” Google’s owning of Motorola Mobility will be the biggest destroyer of competition I can see, for Android.
Only time will tell, but we could see, as a result of Google’s subsequent actions, they could open themselves to massive anti-trust investigations as they start to close down their once open platform to use for their own monetary gain.
From the outside, it would look like Google has taken advantage of the open source community/advocates, and abused their trust to dominate yet another newish market, as has been pointed out by others (FTC focuses Google anti-trust investigation on Android).