Big story today (see here) about Google talking to Verizon and Sprint, making deals for them to carry Google-based phones. Let me tell you something. We’re not worried in the least. For one thing, they’re just in talks. What that means in the world of telecom is this: Nothing. Eric hasn’t figured it out yet but wait till he sits through a bazillion mindless endless friggin meetings with these bozos. Yes, those carriers want something to counter the iPhone. So maybe they’ll be willing to play ball. But not the way Google wants them to. They’re already way too aware of how badly Google wants to kill them. They’ll make a deal but it’s going to be like one of those Hollywood marriages where some gay dude marries some starlet because it looks good in the tabloids but everyone knows that he really wants nothing to do with her.
Another drawback is that Eric is relying on hardware dopes to make the phones. He’s not controlling the experience. I know I’m maybe a bit extreme on this but as I see it unless you control the entire product — software, hardware, retail — you can’t deliver a truly extraordinary experience. In our case it’s bad enough we have to deal with the frigtards at AT&T but at least they mostly stay out of our way.
Another problem Google faces is simply that no matter how cool this phone is, no matter how many great features it has, there’s one key feature it will never have and that’s an Apple logo on the outside. Don’t misunderestimate this. It’s a hugely powerful factor. We’ve done studies on this. You can’t believe how many people buy our stuff just because it’s from Apple. We’ve got the hottest brand in the world. A bunch of Asperger sufferers from Mountain View might be great at making search algorithms, and the bandits who run AdSense are great at squeezing pennies out of gullible suckers, but trust me, it’s a different ballgame in consumer electronics and Google definitely does not have that in its DNA.
Look. We’ve seen one of these phones. Eric brought one over the other day. It’s fine. Nice looking enough. Works. Makes calls. The apps run. But it’s nothing overwhelming. You couldn’t put it in a plexiglass case and make nerds drool looking at it.
The real reason we’re not scared is that when Eric ran down the hall to the men’s room (he’s got this going problem that his doc says is a growing problem) we rifled through his briefcase and found out that the gPhone is scheduled to be released in 2008, but only in beta form, with a target date of 2011 for it to come out of beta. In other words, perpetual beta, just like everything else at Google. Who wants a phone that’s in beta? You know how easy it will be to message against that?
We won’t even have to do it. The Borg is going to take the lead on this one because they’re the ones who are really threatened. You think Monkey Boy is going to let Squirrel Boy come into the mobile phone space with a new platform that rivals Windows Mobile? You think Microsoft isn’t going to fight? Riiight. The FUD is going to be flying so fast and thick it’s going to feel like the front row at a Gallagher show.
Another piece of food for thought. In all these years Google has spent millions, maybe billions, trying to create an Act II for the company, some way to go beyond search and advertising. They’ve done the classic Valley thing — hire nerds, turn them loose to dream up wacky ideas, put some of those ideas out into the market, throw them against the wall and see what sticks. Only, um, in their case so far nothing sticks. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Sure the stock is at almost 700 bucks and the dopes on Wall Street are lapping it up but the truth is that out in the Valley people are starting to snicker. And if you look very closely at their quarterly results in the last couple of quarters you can see the cracks in the facade. Eric’s slapping financial patching plaster over them as fast as he can but there’s only so far you can go with that kind of stuff. Unless you’re IBM in which case apparently you can do it forever and nobody ever catches on.
But I digress. As far as I can tell, the gPhone is just another desperate attempt on Google’s part to dream up something besides search. And when the best you can do is copy something that others are already doing, and try to crack into an already overcrowded market, well, that’s not very promising. That’s not what I told Eric though. What I told him is that I think it’s a great idea and I’m sure Google will be a big success and there’s so much room in this smart phone market for all of us and aren’t we all going to do some interesting amazing things in the next few years? Then when he left (after taking yet another pee) we all just laughed our asses off. Peace out, sucka.