Mr. Takeshi Natsuno, one of the key persons who created i-mode, Japan's NTT Docomo's famed mobile Internet service, said something very interesting at Japan's Broadband Association's panel discussion the other day.
The following is his comment.
Most Japanese people misunderstand what Google is trying to do. If Google wants to monopolise the mobile OS market with Android, why is it that Google supplies their web services such as gmail and Google maps to iPhone and other competing platforms.
Google's intention is simple, I think. They just want to advance the mobile Internet to the level of PC Internet.
Nokia has a wonderful share in the world cell phone market. Yet average Nokia phones' Internet ability is nothing Japanese users regard as an acceptable level. Except for the high end handsets which has the functionalities similar to Japanese handsets, the majority of Nokia phones are not easy to use for Japanese users.
It is because Nokia is a hand set maker. Selling hand sets is their business goal. Whether or not the user access the Internet with the phone has little to do with their bottom-line. Europe's mobile Internet usage in terms of the average user's total data packets usage is very low compared to that of Japan.
I think many people misunderstand Google. Google developed Android because of frustration. Google is frustrated by the status of today's mobile Internet. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, once said that he wished what is happening in the Japanese mobile Internet space would happen world wide also. Google looked around to see where the bottle neck of the mobile Internet, what is wrong with mobile Internet system. And they found out the mobile operating system is what hinders the mobile Internet from advancing itself. So they decided to develop the operating system themselves and give it to anybody for free.
If monopolising the mobile OS market is their goal, they would have charged for the OS licencing, I think.
They give out the OS free, and they supply their services for the competing platforms as long as there are strong user bases in order to advance the mobile Internet environment. They do so because advancing mobile Internet environment is also good for Google's advertising businesses. In order to fight back the threat from Android, Symbian decided to give out their own version of Symbian OS for free. But, that is also good for Google, because the more users access the Internet, the more people probably use Google's search and other services, that in turn would benefit the Google's advertising businesses.