Google Phone OS No Slam Dunk - Barron's

by: SA Eli Hoffmann

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.

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