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TheStreet Open House

The Plot to Dethrone Android

The major wireless operators around the world will deploy Firefox OS because they hope to constrain Google's emerging dominance in the ecosystem wars and monetization. The operators want a bigger piece of the economic pie than Google is offering them. Google takes 30% of the revenue in the Google Play store; the content creator gets 70% and the operator gets nothing except his monthly $20 or $30 mostly flat data fee.

Will the operators be successful in selling and monetizing Firefox OS? I am skeptical, but it will likely vary greatly from geography to geography. Google is on a major roll, with an epic onslaught of hardware, software and services slated for introduction between May and December 2013.

For example, Google will likely launch an epic attack against at least the U.S. wireless operators by offering free voice over IP (VoIP), including free SMS (already available) thanks to the more competitive LTE offerings becoming widely available later in 2013. This will be a huge blow to profitability of the wireless operators, and it will be an outright declaration of war between the operators and Google.


Make no mistake about it: Major operators such as AT&T and Verizon know what's coming from Google, just as the Germans knew what would eventually come across the English Channel on June 1944. The operators don't know the exact day in 2013 either, but they're trying to come up with a counter-move.

This counter-move the wireless operators are plotting seems to be to deploy Firefox OS. I do not yet see how this move will succeed in the end, but we have not yet seen the full picture of their technology and strategy.

When you have almost 70% market share, and you have further ecosystem monetization ambitions on the scale of Google, you have to be prepared for the players around you plotting to take you down. In this case, the latest move by the operators to try to cut down to size a major ecosystem giant will be to promote Firefox OS at the expense of Google.

My bottom line: It is way too early to call this game but, generally speaking, I would not bet against Google right now.

Whether you're another smartphone maker, or a wireless operator, Google has a huge offensive planned for May-December 2013 that will be as epic in the industry as D-Day was to the outcome of the Second World War. If you think the last one to eight years were interesting, you just wait until you see what's coming in the next one to eight months.

At the time of publication the author was long GOOG, AAPL, QCOM, NVDA, BRCM and INTC, and short MSFT and AMD

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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