Some people may think I’m perseverating here on Verizon’s casual-seeming rebuke of Android, but I’m going to illuminate anyway.
When asked why Verizon chose LiMo over Google, Kyle Malady, vice president of network for Verizon, said on a conference call that LiMo’s membership consists of a diverse set of experts from the carrier community, software developers and handset manufacturers.
Well, so does the Android flag-waving Open Handset Alliance, which includes carrier Sprint Nextel, software maker Nuance and phone maker HTC. So that argument doesn’t wash. Malady continued to say that LiMo already has commercial products.
True enough. The org’s members pumped out 18 or so handsets in the winter. But having products does not make a group better. What about traction? Do you know anyone using a LiMo-based handset? I didn’t think so.
However, Malady also said “the governing structure is set up in a way that’s inclusive and directed by a board of directors and that was appealing to us.” That implies that OHA lacks structure.
He may have a point there. It’s not really clear what the OHA governing structure is. I have spoken with LiMo Foundation’s Executive Director Morgan Gillis. He is well aware of how to position LiMo in the market and is careful to differentiate it from Android.
Conversely, we don’t hear much from OHA, and when we do hear from Google’s Android team, it’s usually a dismissal of the iPhone, or some other product that Android is allegedly superior to. Indeed, the Android folk are cocky, as well as dodgy. They like to hit and run, going for the eyes.
He also said if OHA handsets show up, we’ll look at those as well. But that hardly sounds encouraging. The fact that Malady chose to use the words “if” and “show up” points to doubt as well as disdain. Would he characterize the launch of LiMo handsets by saying they “showed up?”
No, his comments are dismissive at best and hostile at worst. So to what do we attribute this air of malice? Well, Google’s tinkering with the 700 MHz auction and coercion of the FCC into offering open access is a big reason.
Just as Google has co-opted the online search and ad markets, Verizon, AT&T and their lot are used to defining the phone market. By swooping in and mixing things up so it can lengthen its reach of its search and ad offerings, Google easily rubbed Verizon the wrong way. It’s a case of a bully in one market beating up the bully in another. They can dish it, but they can’t take it.
That’s what Verizon is really sore about, and it’s also why Verizon won’t support Android despite lukewarm comments to the contrary.