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Are Samsung and Google at war?

Samsung Smartphone vs Google Pixel

Samsung and Google in theory at least should be best friends.
Samsung is the dominant seller of android phones, they're putting Google's operating system in the hands of hundreds of millions and Google is giving Samsung the tools to make them.
But i'm not even exaggerating when i say this. These two companies despise each other.
You might have noticed if you've ever tried to buy a Samsung phone that this company has tried to remove every trace of it actually being run on Google software.
They've used a different design direction, different color palettes and more importantly different apps.
They want you to use Samsung's calendar, Samsung's internet browser, Samsung's notes all instead of Google's alternatives. Plus in areas where Samsung just can't compete with Google, they've partnered up with Microsoft.
Instead of pushing Google Docs they push Microsoft word, instead of backing your photos up to Google drive they use the much less popular Microsoft Onedrive and actually just recently with the Note 20 series of phones they've doubled down on this partnership.

Samsung went out of their way to show how their phones would work great with Microsoft Xcloud game streaming service which is a massive blow to Google considering that they are also working on their own game streaming platform named Stadia.
I could go on about instances of this all day
Google developed Android TV, Samsung went we're good! we're going to make our own Smart TV OS.
Google introduced Daydream VR, Samsung focused on their own Gear VR
Probably the biggest blow was when Google unveiled their new operating system for Smartwatches and Samsung even used it for a bit only then to announce that they were creating their own OS and that they were going to make all future watches based on that.
So you get the idea, Samsung is doing everything in their power to distance themselves as much as possible from Google and honestly it's heartbreaking.
If these two companies put their heads together they would be unstoppable
I genuinely think that Samsung makes the best phone Hardware out there!
There's very little that rivals the feel and the look of their latest Note 20 ultra
But Google makes the best Android Software!

Their Pixel 4a is a perfect example of this. A phone with pretty crummy hardware all things considered but it's still an amazing phone just thanks to its intelligence.
Put Google software on Samsung hardware and you've got a potent Iphone rival!!
So why the beef? Why is there no love lost between these two companies?
Well i would argue it's because with Tech, Hardware is getting good.
Generally speaking in 2020, you can buy a good smartphone and it'll probably last you four years.
Buy a good computer it could last you eight!
Pretty much all signs point towards the majority of future profits being from software and services as opposed to just selling the hardware itself because for a lot of people the hardware they already have is good enough.

Now this is a problem for Samsung, because they've always really been a hardware company they make great screens and beautiful, designs but to really ensure future profits Samsung wants to be Your health tracker
Your payment provider
Your hub for services
So Google who more or less wants the same thing is actually Samsung's biggest and closest competitor.
If you're wondering why Samsung is so keen on partnering up with Microsoft
It's because both of those companies have the same objective, to beat Google!
Microsoft has famously fought Google on the windows front, Trying to push its own Microsoft Edge browser over chrome and Bing as the default search engine instead of Google search plus the whole Microsoft office versus Google's office suite of apps.
And Samsung has fought this battle on the smartphone front so both companies are actually quite aligned in terms of objectives and they don't really get in the way of each other.

Samsung Old Phones Touchwiz UI

Samsung wants the smartphone and the wearables market
Microsoft wants the computer and the gaming market
Did you notice how while Apple said no to having Microsoft's Xcloud gaming platform on the apple app store, Samsung said come on over, you can host Xcloud on our Galaxy app store. No problem! and actually let's go further and make it so that Samsung users get exclusive Xcloud features.
When Google and Apple said no to Fortnite on their app stores because Fortnite were trying to use an unapproved payment mechanism, Samsung had no problem at all, keeping Fortnite on their app store because as far as they were concerned, this was a free advantage they could have over Google Android
And it's been very clear for a long time that this is what Samsung has wanted
Right from the off, Samsung would plaster their phones in a software skin called Touchwiz and people at the time would often ask why Samsung bothered with such a heavy skin that pretty much left Android unrecognizable.
Well it was actually quite deliberate, Samsung didn't want people to think i'm buying a Google phone.
They wanted people to think i'm buying a Samsung phone.
They pretty much wanted to completely dissociate Google's role in their products.
They then started one by one adding in Samsung replacement apps for just about every main Google app out there
They even licensed here maps as their Google maps competitor

Google Android vs Samsung Bada

It was pretty clear at this stage that Samsung could have they would have ditched android itself and they tried alongside the first Android-powered Galaxy S phone they also released a phone called the Samsung Wave and this was the phone they actually wanted to take off
It was made to look just like their Android phones it even ran on Touchwiz but it wasn't actually Android it runs on their own in-house Bada OS
Because if you own the OS, you've got full control you can almost force feed people your services They tried again in 2015 with a smartphone running on Samsung's own Tizen OS the Z1, again it flopped but i think at this stage Google was genuinely starting to worry about the future of Android
Because really if any company had the power to disrupt it, it wasn't Apple as much
The biggest threat was Samsung! If Samsung did come out with a successful OS of their own then in one fell swoop they wouldn't just be gaining hundreds of millions of users but they'd be actively stealing them from Google
Samsung was so powerful at this stage that Android could have lost 60% of its user base which overnight would make Android a side piece to Samsung OS.
So Google had to put a stop to it and the way they did this was through the purchase of Motorola mobility for 12.5 billion dollars.

Samsung Pay on Galaxy

Now on the face of it, this seems kind of unrelated, almost senseless
We're talking 2011 here which was a real low point for Motorola.
They were basically head in the sand debt, Google said that their reasoning was to acquire Motorola's patents to which a lot of people thought, okay fair enough, that sounds cool
But really? 12.5 billion for Motorola's patents??
I don't think so, I think there was a different motive.
That Google's acquisition of Motorola was at least in part a threat.
There was Google saying to Samsung, look if you don't stop messing around with our Android, if you don't stop trying to basically create your own version of it then we're gonna have to step in.
Thanks to this Motorola acquisition we now have the capacity to build our own Android phones
Android phones that run pure Google, Android phones that we can subsidize because we don't even need to make a profit on them.

All types of Phone

When Samsung didn't respond, Google carried through with this and went on to drop the pretty well received Moto X and Moto G phones.
The plan worked! within a few short years, Samsung came back to Google with an agreement that said “okay we're gonna tone down Touchwiz”, “okay we're gonna give people Google alternatives to Samsung apps” and “okay we're gonna keep the general look and feel of Google stock Android”
And if it wasn't clear that this was Google's plan all along, then literally two days after this agreement was signed, Google sold Motorola mobility!
They sold it for a huge loss 2.91 billion versus the 12.5 they paid for it
But they didn't care, it served its purpose.
Okay i would love to tell you that this is where the feud ended, This is where Samsung and Google became friends and they lived happily ever after
But it didn't change the fact that fundamentally both companies were still after the same Software and Services market.
In fact the battle got worse in 2016, Samsung had the biggest PR nightmare of their lifetime with the exploding Galaxy Note 7’s
And shortly after, Google announces the Pixel phones, Google made high-end Android Smartphones and even though these were framed as targeting the Iphone making fun of their camera bumps and their lack of headphone jacks
Google knew full well that the pixel phones were actually far closer alternatives to Samsung's flagships effectively kicking the company while they were down and i'm pretty convinced that the Pixel phones were less about trying to make money off selling hardware and more about just guiding the Android market.

Because let's be real the actual money Google makes or selling Pixel phones themselves is nothing. It's pennies versus their monstrous Ad revenue.
Google doesn't care about hardware as long as people are using their services
But because Samsung is trying to steer people away from Google services that's why Google had to intervene.
The Pixel phones were Google's way of showing the world how good Google services were and how good Android could be if other companies actually use them properly.
To basically make Samsung look bad for preloading 50 applications onto every phone and to pressure them to stop.
This is why Google made the pixels as clean and Bloatware free as possible to highlight how much Bloatware Samsung put on their phones
It's why they gave Pixel users an unlimited amount of high quality storage through Google photos
It's the reason why Google gave the Pixels access to exclusive Android features before anyone else got them
They weren't trying to make the best highest end Android flagship in the world
They weren't trying to overtake something in sales they were just trying to make a poster boy for Google services.

Samsung fought back in April of next year, they dropped the Galaxy s8 their flashiest ever piece of hardware but more importantly a phone that was just one big screw you to Google
Samsung pushed its own Bixby virtual assistant hard even going as far as to add a dedicated button for it on their phones which at launch you couldn't even change
And at the same event they announced Samsung connect home which is basically their version of Google home
The subtext of this event, the message Samsung was trying to get across was not particularly buy a Galaxy S8, it was just by Samsung, buy into our entire ecosystem
It wasn't enough and it probably never will be enough
I would argue that Google has already won this battle
Google's master stroke the thing which i'm assuming they've planned is that they've been working with Android developers to make sure that Android apps rely on Google's core services to work
For example Uber, which actually uses map data from Google maps and that's the reason why on a Huawei phone, where there's no Google maps, Uber doesn't work
And by a similar logic if in 2020 Samsung decides to try and license its own map service and distance itself from Google services, Uber would need to be completely reworked to work on a Samsung phone
it's the same for Netflix, it's the same for banking apps, it's the same for even Whatsapp
The main way to back up your Whatsapp chats is via Google drive
So if you don't have Google core services you can't do that, so what it looks like Google has done is subtly woven themselves into the fabric of even third-party apps such that if you don't have Google services they won't work properly.

Samsung Connect Home

So either Samsung starts an entirely new operating system from scratch which is almost impossible at this stage or they stick to Android in which case they're inevitably tied to Google
Now all of this is a massive shame and it's very possible that Google's power is going to rise further and that Samsung's ties with Microsoft are only about to accelerate but there is a silver lining
So apparently there are some reports that Samsung is actually talking to Google about potentially phasing out some Samsung services like Bixby and swapping them for Google services in exchange for a revenue share, some sort of percentage cut of whatever Google makes from them and i won't lie to you i would love for this to happen
Samsung phones will be better because of it, they'll happily endorse Google services which in some cases like assistants are just better Google software
Business will grow hugely and Samsung will actually want it to because the more Google earns from their software, the better Samsung does thanks to their revenue share
This is only a possibility, we don't actually know if it's going to happen but as far as i can see it's about as good a conclusion as you can come to anyway
Let me know if you're team Samsung or team Google in this battle and do follow us on Social media

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