Barron's Plugged In editor Mark Veverka says Google's recent foray into the multi-player game of mobile OSes is far from the slam-dunk some people automatically assume when they hear "Google" and "search" spoken in one sentence. The key difference between Google's unprecedented dominance in web search and its current open-source attack on wireless search, he says, is a crippling lack of much-coveted technology patents. Unlike web search, Google is late to the mobile search party, and without any mobile-phone software patents of its own, in an arena where its competitors boast hundreds, it stands exposed in the "adversarial world of mobile-wireless intellectual property." Even open-source efforts can be thwarted by expensive and time-consuming patent litigation, not to mention consumer reluctance to embrace open-source and its potential for weak support, reliability, and security issues. While Google with its massive $217B market cap may ultimately decide to obtain patents through acquisitions, competitors like Microsoft and incumbent Nokia are not likely to go down quietly.
Commentary: Google's Mobile Software Platform Threatens The PC Itself • Google Enters Wireless Market with Android OS • What's the Point of Google's Phone?
Stocks to watch: GOOG. Competitors: NOK, MSFT, ERIC, RIMM, PALM, MOT, AAPL
Earnings call transcript: Google Q3 2007
Seeking Alpha's news briefs are combined into a pre-market summary called Wall Street Breakfast. Get Wall Street Breakfast by email -- it's free and takes only seconds to sign up.