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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- One of the most recent "fashion topics" in the mobile computing competitive race is that Google(GOOG - Get Report) is somehow afraid of how large Samsung has become.
This nonsense would eventually die off on its own, but let me punctuate it right here before we have to hear about this highly exaggerated nonissue yet another time.
Here is the background: Android has 70% smartphone market share, and
Samsung is the largest percentage of this 70%. Exactly what percentage it is differs from survey to survey, but suffice it to say that it is by far the single largest maker of Androids. Samsung also makes smartphones based on other operating systems such as Windows Phone and Bada, but those sales volumes are relatively minor compared with Android.
This is not materially different than the relationship
Microsoft(MSFT) has -- and has had for 20-plus years -- with the Windows PC makers. Once upon a time, say
HP(hpq) was or still is the largest maker of Windows PCs. Does this mean that HP is somehow a threat to Microsoft? Of course not. Never was, isn't today, won't be tomorrow.
There are some differences between the Windows PC world and this new Google-Samsung relationship:
1. Samsung already modifies the Android software. This is unlike the Windows world, where there was no such modification. However, everyone who has actually compared a pure Android Nexus device with a Samsung modification -- which it calls "TouchWiz" -- will agree that the Nexus is better.
In other words, the Samsung modification is "adding" negative value. It's worse. The sad fact here is that most average consumers are totally uneducated about this and have not compared the products. They buy what they're fed at the carrier stores, and that's not Nexus.
2. Samsung could modify Android even further. A company such as
Amazon.com(AMZN) already does this, having "forked" plain Android beyond recognition. At least Samsung's current "modification" is not so far away from pure Nexus that it is unrecognizable as Android.
But would this really be in Samsung's interest? Is the loyalty ultimately to Android or to Samsung? I argue it's to Android.
3. Samsung could pursue other operating systems further. This includes Tizen, which is already under development, and/or acquiring
BlackBerry(BBRY), which seems entirely possible. It's not clear that this would hurt Google anymore than any other scenario for those operating systems, however.