Is google just as bad as microsoft?
Google, one of the first firms that pops into your mind when think of innovation, improvement and new technologies in general. Even their most precious operating system android (OS) is a piece of open source software that anyone can alter and use!
This is however not entirely true, because if android device makers like Samsung want to get to the good stuff. Like the play store they must sign the “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement”. This agreement compels device makers to pre install a dozen google applications on the device (on predetermined spot in the interface), make google search the default search engine and chrome the default browser. This agreement raises a lot of questions “Why don’t device makers use another OS?” and “What are the downside for us, the users?” for instance.
The first question is rather easy to answer, there aren’t a whole lot of options out there! Android holds close to a 100% of the market share for this third party device makers market. So the only real solution to make sure they don’t have to rely on any of the application that are bundled by google is to design their own app store. However even giant software mogul Microsoft can’t offer an app store as complete as google. So this is no real option either. One of the few device makers that tried this beside Microsoft is amazon with its Kindle fire. But this app store holds only 147.000 applications so you can hardly call this an alternative.
A far more interesting question is the second question, “What are the downsides for the users?” One of the major downsides is that the device maker is not free to choose the applications that best fit the needs of their customer group because if they decide one non google application might fit their customers need better they are not allowed to switch out the google variant. This means the so called “best of breed” approach, where you matchup the very best for every aspect is impossible to maintain. And this only the immediate short term effect, in the long run this bundling will also lead to a reduced effort of google to innovate their applications because there is not competition they have to out preform.
Google has already been in some legal disputes about this fact but these disputes where between google and some smaller device developing companies which evidently could not put up a fight against google and its infinitely deep pockets.
So in sum is what google is doing here no different or maybe even worse then what Microsoft used to do with internet explorer? Are all big international companies then really all the same?