NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Call 911! Senior executives are meeting, right now, in a smoke-filledroom, plotting to take down Android.I think they will ultimately fail, but not without perhaps inflictingsome superficial wounds on their intended target. And guess what? The following companies aren't in the room: Apple ( AAPL), Microsoft ( MSFT) and BlackBerry ( BBRY). What am I talking about? And who? To understand the scene at the 2013 version of "The Last Supper" youhave to understand the logic and chronology of how the smartphonehistory developed over the last 15 years: In the early 1990s days, wehad Nokia ( NOK), which was eclipsed in the early 2000s by BlackBerry. The wireless operators were extremely happy with BlackBerry, partiallybecause BlackBerry didn't pose a threat to them. It shared revenue,expanded the market into the lucrative enterprise sphere, and didn'tdivert existing operator services.
BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsille described his relationship with thewireless operators as "constructive alignment" because he emphasizedthat BlackBerry was the chief ally of the operators -- not a threat.All parties -- BlackBerry as well as the operators -- loved thisarrangement and wanted it to continue forever. Minor threats such as Palm were swatted off like flies. The yearsbetween 2003 and 2007 were all sweetness, light and jingles for thewireless operators and for BlackBerry. Then came the iPhone stink bomb. Steve Jobs was the opposite of JimBalsille's "constructive alignment." It was Jobs' way or the highway. Any operator carrying the iPhone had to comply with every millimeterof Apple's wishes. No logo on the device, no crapware apps, nonothing. Great for the consumer; bad for the operators. Apple was confident that it had a product the operators wouldn't beable to ignore, even though they hated it. All Apple needed was acrack in the Hoover Dam of the operator wall. With AT&T ( T) hungry totake down Verizon Wireless from the U.S. market leadership position,Apple got its opening. Apple and AT&T milked this for all it was worth, and Verizon feltcompelled to respond with desperate measures. Verizon went toBlackBerry for an all-touch version called Storm, which became a totaldisaster. It also licensed the "Droid" name from Lucas Films andagreed to promote Android heavily as its answer to the iPhone. Android was free and customizable, so the operators -- not onlyVerizon -- proceeded to promote it as their favored solution, tryingto keep Apple away from total industry dominance.
What about BlackBerry, then? Certainly, in its current form,BlackBerry is the same darling of the operators as it was in JimBalsille's "constructive alignment" heyday, 2002 to 2008. However, asI have pointed out before, BlackBerry is likely going to be acquired by Microsoft, Nokia(essentially Microsoft's smartphone hardware arm), Samsung, Amazon.com ( AMZN) or HP ( HPQ). If you consider Nokia to be a de facto part of Microsoft, then thebest the operators could hope for is that BlackBerry gets bought byHP. Amazon and Samsung are next after Google, Apple and Microsoft tostep into the center of the operator enemies list for ecosystemmonetization. So BlackBerry is unlikely to fulfill the role of operator-friendlyentity in the long run, assuming it gets acquired. If you're the bigoperators today, what do you do then? The answer is at the core of today's smoke-filled room: Support yetanother new and fully compliant operating system! What the operators want is an Android without a Google. It's truethat Android can be forked, but there is still the lingeringdependence on Google. What could possibly fit this bill? It looks to me like what the operators want to see is one of the newoperating systems without ecosystem ambitions. They include Ubuntuand Mozilla's Firefox OS. They can run on hardware that's basicallystandard Android. Specifically, Firefox OS has, with the help of Qualcomm ( QCOM), partneredwith numerous wireless operators around the world. On the handsetside, LG and Alcatel ( ALU) have been announced. You should also expecthigher-end handsets soon.
Make no mistake about it: Major operators such as AT&T and Verizonknow what's coming from Google, just as the Germans knew what wouldeventually come across the English Channel on June 1944.The operators don't know the exact day in 2013 either, but they're trying tocome up with a counter-move. This counter-move the wireless operators are plotting seems to be todeploy Firefox OS. I do not yet see how this move will succeed in theend, but we have not yet seen the full picture of their technology andstrategy. When you have almost 70% market share, and you have further ecosystemmonetization ambitions on the scale of Google, you have to be preparedfor 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 majorecosystem giant will be to promote Firefox OS at the expense ofGoogle. My bottom line: It is way too early to call this game but, generallyspeaking, I would not bet against Google right now. Whether you'reanother smartphone maker, or a wireless operator, Google has a hugeoffensive planned for May-December 2013 that will be as epic in theindustry as D-Day was to the outcome of the Second World War. If youthink the last one to eight years were interesting, you just wait until you seewhat'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 Follow @antonwahlman This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.