Verizon Confirms It Will Reconnect Data Plans For Chromebook Pixel Owners

chromebook-pixel You’ve probably been following the news that some owners of the Google Chromebook Pixel who bought a two-year data plan with their devices had been stiffed. According to a number of complaints, users were greeted with a cancelled account screen when they tried to connect via Verizon’s data network and no one was quite certain what was going on. Read More

Motorola Clears The Pipes With New Verizon Droids – Time For The Google Era To Begin In Earnest

ultra1

Motorola released a trio of devices today at a special press event for its line of Verizon phones in New York City. The company showed off phones that in many ways resembled their Droid devices of the past, and these keep the Droid branding, too. They’re looking mostly like successors to Razr devices, but with tweaks that could signal what we’ll see now that Google is more directly taking the reins at the company.

The new Droids likely represent the last vestiges of Motorola’s pre- Google acquisition product pipeline, which Google has said repeatedly needed to be worked through before it could get to the devices Google was planning to build with its new hardware division. But it’s not all “out with the old” – there are a few new noteworthy tricks up Motorola’s sleeve with these Droids, and these could be signs of what’s next for the company as Google’s in-house Android device maker.

Chief among those is the Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System, a new 8-core system-on-a-chip that Motorola is customizing based on a Qualcomm processor, instead of just using a standard design. Consider these Motorola Droids both a closing and an opening act, then, ejecting all the dross that’s left over from the company’s previous life, and bringing in the kernel of the new.

The Droid is being promoted with the pomp and circumstance of a flagship line of devices, but it’s key that this is a Verizon event – this is likely a commitment made to Verizon by Motorola long before Google got involved. Don’t expect the Droids to come anywhere close to playing in the same ballpark with Samsung’s Galaxy devices, or maybe even the HTC One. But these Droid devices are definitely worth watching if only for the X8 eight-core mobile SoC, and the features that come with them.

The X8 chip allows touchless control for hands-free operation, an active display that selectively lights up to display just notifications and other features previously leaked in a Moto X demo. The Kevlar involved is also something that the Droids share in common with the Moto X, but I don’t think we’ll see the X as just a rebranded Droid when it’s unveiled next week. For one, they share the Moto X’s patriotic place of manufacturing origin, but without any further details there’s little else to draw on for comparison.

Motorola once had brand leverage through trade names like “Droid” and “Razr” (the latter of which has been notably dropped here) but in recent years those brands haven’t meant much next to more successful rivals like Samsung. X is the future of the brand, and we’ll likely see differences between those devices and the past highlighted over potential similarities


Android Is Either “Winning” Because Apple Is Letting It, Or Losing

Screen Shot 2012-05-02 at 11.37.53 PM

In September 2010, I wrote a post that ignited an absolute shitstorm around these parts. “Shitstorm” in this case meaning a post with a thousand comments, the majority of which were spewed up by rabid Android fanatics. The title of that post:

Is Android Surging Only Because Apple Is Letting It?

At the time, we were in the midst of a massive Android surge to the top of the smartphone ecosystem food chain. This was happening all around the world, but the focus of this particular post was the U.S. market. Based on some comments made by developer David Beach at the time, I wondered if, as the title suggested, Android was only doing so well in the U.S. because the iPhone was still only available on one carrier, AT&T?

It’s time to revisit that thought because there’s now absolutely no question that this was the case. There’s now data to back it up. What’s more, despite what some surveys suggest, this trend may have fully reversed itself.

Over the past few days, both comScore and NPD have put out data showing that Android still has a healthy hold on the U.S. smartphone market with their best market share numbers yet. According to comScore, Android controls 51 percent of the market. According to NPD, it’s more like 61 percent.

For comparison, Apple is the number two player with 30.7 percent of the market according to comScore, and 29 percent according to NPD.

On the surface, there’s one big glaring problem with these numbers. Actual sales data from the three largest carriers in the U.S. doesn’t seem to back up the comScore and NPD numbers. At all.

In the last quarter, the iPhone accounted for 78 percent of all smartphones sold through AT&T. On Verizon, the iPhone accounted for 51 percent of all smartphones sold. Sprint didn’t report their total smartphone sales numbers, only iPhone sales numbers, but estimates peg the iPhone percentage around 60 percent. The iPhone is not (yet) sold on the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile.

That’s 51 percent of all smartphones sold on the nation’s largest carrier (Verizon). 78 percent of all smartphone sold on the nation’s number two carrier (AT&T). And 60 percent of all smartphones sold on the nation’s number three carrier (Sprint). Jay Yarow of Business Insider did the math: all together, the iPhone accounted for 63 percent of the smartphone sales in the past quarter on the big three carriers. The 63 percent number is close to the 59 percent estimated by Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt last week, as reported by Eric Savitz for Forbes.

And if you believe the Yankee Group, the big three carriers account for roughly 80 percent of the overall U.S. smartphone market. This equates to almost exactly 50 percent of the overall smartphone market in the U.S. for Apple.

It’s hard to see how Android could control 61 percent of the market when there’s only 50 percent to spare after the actual numbers are calculated. Maybe Android is huge with undocumented workers. Undocumented workers who love taking surveys, mind you. But I digress…

And, of course, there are other smartphones out there from RIM, Microsoft, Nokia, and the like. Even giving Android the other 50 percent of the market would mean all of the other players equal zero percent. (Sadly, perhaps not that far off, actually.)

ComScore at least has some wiggle room here. They don’t actually measure phone sales quarter to quarter, but overall market usage. So it’s certainly possible that after a few years of Android sales, they do still control the majority of the U.S. smartphone market. But their numbers get sticky when you look quarter-to-quarter and see that Android’s market share increased nearly four time more than the iPhone’s market share this past quarter. Again, that doesn’t sound right when the iPhone accounted for 63 percent of all smartphones sold on the big three carriers.

When I brought this point up a few days ago, comScore was quick with an answer. They told me that amongst the big three carriers, the iPhone subscriber growth actually did outpace Android subscriber growth, 13 percent to 11 percent. It’s just that overall Android growth from the remaining carriers (meaning T-Mobile and the regional carriers) more than wiped out that difference.

First of all, 13 percent (iPhone) versus 11 percent (Android) growth on the big three carriers still doesn’t sound right if the iPhone accounted for 63 percent of all sales last quarter. Second, if the big three do in fact make up about 80 percent of the overall market, how did the remaining 20 percent tilt the scales 4x in favor of Android (in terms of market share growth quarter to quarter)? It doesn’t make sense.

And then you look at NPD’s numbers. Yarow demolished those earlier. And sure enough, NPD reached out right away with clarifications.

Here’s the real issue: this rapid swing in favor of the iPhone seems to have exposed some serious flaws in the way these market analysts get their data. They’re hiding behind vague technicalities on how their numbers could be what they say, but they still don’t add up. Their problem is that we have actual numbers from the three largest carriers in the U.S., all of which are finally selling the iPhone and boasting about those numbers because they’re huge.

So how do the other guys get their numbers?

Surveys.

In comScore’s case, their MobiLens data comes from “an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and older”. They don’t disclose the number of people surveyed, but you can bet it’s not a massive number (sure enough, it’s not, see update below). In NPD’s case, they survey 12,811 people.

Which numbers do you trust? Millions upon millions of actual sales reported in a legal manner by public companies or surveys of thousands of people?

Further, as Ethan Kaplan points out, “NPD and the like are incentive based surveys so naturally skew a certain way. Teens, college students, etc.” Several others have made this point over the past few days. The numbers comScore and NPD use in their statistically small surveys are likely skewed for a number of reasons. And again, now we have actual sales data that heavily suggests that’s the case.

By now, I probably have the Android fanatics really upset, so let’s throw out all these rational numbers and instead continue on with the dream that Android is “winning” in the U.S. Not winning in revenue or profit mind you — you know, things that actually matter for business, and things which Android will likely never be winning in any sense of the word — but winning in terms of overall market share. If you want to ignore all the above information and insist that Android is still winning there, that’s fine. But let’s jump back to the beginning of this post.

Again, the argument made in September 2010 was that Android was winning in market share in the U.S. because Apple was letting it win by only making the iPhone available on AT&T’s network. If Android still does control half to two-thirds of the market as the surveys suggest, what does it mean that on the three carriers where the iPhone is available, Apple now controls over 60 percent of these markets on a quarterly basis? (Again, this is fact backed up by actual sales numbers.)

It means that Android was/is winning in market share because Apple was/is allowing it to.

Android was previously the top smartphone OS for both Verizon and Sprint. But that was only because the iPhone was not available on either network until last year. When it became available, it quickly shot to the top. One type of phone outsold hundreds of other models combined. That’s pretty insane.

And it doesn’t speak well for the future of Android’s market share, survey or not. At least not in the U.S. (the rest of the world is more complicated for many other reasons). What if Apple finally puts the iPhone on T-Mobile later this year? Given what we now know — again, from actual data — is there any question that it becomes the top smartphone there? What about the other, smaller regional carriers? That’s already starting to happen.

Android’s only hope is to actually have a phone, or a set of phones, that are more appealing to consumers than the iPhone. But that hasn’t happened in the past four years, so what makes us think that will change this year? Or next year? All Apple has to do is say the word and they can win the market share battle in this country.

Actually, again, if you consider the numbers above, it sure looks like they already have won that battle.

Update: comScore notes that their surveys are 3-month averages of about 30,000 mobile phone users.


Samsung Galaxy Nexus Availability Leaks: Web-Only Launch On November 21

samsung-galaxy-nexus

The pending launch date of the next Google phone, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, has been a bit of a mystery up until now. “November” has always been a sure thing, but when exactly we’d be able to get up close and personal was as yet unknown. However, Droid-Life seems to have stumbled upon a Verizon roadmap, which should give us a clear peek at the Nexus’ availability, as well as that of couple other forthcoming phones.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

According to the leaked image (below), availability for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will begin on November 21, four days after the international launch. We’re still unsure whether or not this handset will only be available online as its forefather the Nexus One was, but that “w/o” seems to suggest a web only launch. Luckily, this bad boy will be on sale through Black Friday, which falls on November 25 this year.

The roadmap also outlines availability for a few other special devices, including the duo of new XOOM tablets we heard about last week (launching on November 30), as well as the Samsung Illusion and the BlackBerry Curve 9370, both of which will hit shelves on November 17.


Website: samsung.com
Launch Date: November 7, 1969

Samsung is one of the largest super-multinational companies in the world. It’s possibly best known for it’s subsidiary, Samsung Electronics, the largest electronics company in the world.

Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Availability Leaks: Web-Only Launch On November 21

samsung-galaxy-nexus

The pending launch date of the next Google phone, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, has been a bit of a mystery up until now. “November” has always been a sure thing, but when exactly we’d be able to get up close and personal was as yet unknown. However, Droid-Life seems to have stumbled upon a Verizon roadmap, which should give us a clear peek at the Nexus’ availability, as well as that of couple other forthcoming phones.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

According to the leaked image (below), availability for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will begin on November 21, four days after the international launch. We’re still unsure whether or not this handset will only be available online as its forefather the Nexus One was, but that “w/o” seems to suggest a web only launch. Luckily, this bad boy will be on sale through Black Friday, which falls on November 25 this year.

The roadmap also outlines availability for a few other special devices, including the duo of new XOOM tablets we heard about last week (launching on November 30), as well as the Samsung Illusion and the BlackBerry Curve 9370, both of which will hit shelves on November 17.


Website: samsung.com
Launch Date: November 7, 1969

Samsung is one of the largest super-multinational companies in the world. It’s possibly best known for it’s subsidiary, Samsung Electronics, the largest electronics company in the world.

Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Vigor To Launch November 10?

GalaxyNexus

As the iPhone 4S hype has peaked and is returning back to stable levels, users from the other school of thought are getting pumped for their own massive event. Ice Cream Sandwich, and the next purely Google phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, are due to make an appearance in just two short days.

Though we’re sure to get some clarification on already-leaked specs at the debut, we might have access to launch dates and pricing just a bit earlier than that.

According to an anonymously leaked Verizon document published by Engadget, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the HTC Vigor (codenamed Rezound) are going for a minimum advertized price of $299.99 on-contract. Both phones are also slated for a November 10 to May 10 MAP period, suggesting they may launch as early as November 10. But before we go any further, it’s worth practicing a little cynicism in this case, since this leaked document could have been whipped up in Word in about five minutes. Then again, the model numbers seem to make sense, so we’ll just venture forward with caution.

As far as that November 10 launch date goes, nothing’s set in stone. Even if that’s when the Galaxy Nexus and Vigor’s MAP period begins, the actual launch may come a bit later as we’ve already seen Ice Cream Sandwich and the Nexus event get pushed back once. Either way, it should give you a little extra time to start saving up.


Company: Google
Website: google.com
Launch Date: July 9, 1998
IPO: NASDAQ:GOOG

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps and YouTube. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing them with a rich source of information....

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Company: Verizon
Website: verizon.com
IPO: VZ

Verizon Communications Inc. delivers broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s largest wireless network that serves nearly 102 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers converged communications, information and entertainment services over Verizon’s fiber-optic network.

Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Vigor To Launch November 10?

GalaxyNexus

As the iPhone 4S hype has peaked and is returning back to stable levels, users from the other school of thought are getting pumped for their own massive event. Ice Cream Sandwich, and the next purely Google phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, are due to make an appearance in just two short days.

Though we’re sure to get some clarification on already-leaked specs at the debut, we might have access to launch dates and pricing just a bit earlier than that.

According to an anonymously leaked Verizon document published by Engadget, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the HTC Vigor (codenamed Rezound) are going for a minimum advertized price of $299.99 on-contract. Both phones are also slated for a November 10 to May 10 MAP period, suggesting they may launch as early as November 10. But before we go any further, it’s worth practicing a little cynicism in this case, since this leaked document could have been whipped up in Word in about five minutes. Then again, the model numbers seem to make sense, so we’ll just venture forward with caution.

As far as that November 10 launch date goes, nothing’s set in stone. Even if that’s when the Galaxy Nexus and Vigor’s MAP period begins, the actual launch may come a bit later as we’ve already seen Ice Cream Sandwich and the Nexus event get pushed back once. Either way, it should give you a little extra time to start saving up.


Company: Google
Website: google.com
Launch Date: July 9, 1998
IPO: NASDAQ:GOOG

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps and YouTube. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing them with a rich source of information....

Learn more
Company: Verizon
Website: verizon.com
IPO: VZ

Verizon Communications Inc. delivers broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s largest wireless network that serves nearly 102 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers converged communications, information and entertainment services over Verizon’s fiber-optic network.

Learn more

The Verizon iPhone Halted Android’s Surge. The iPhone 5 Could Reverse It.

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post titled “Is Android Surging Only Because Apple Is Letting It?“. Not surprisingly, it fired people up. About 1,000 comments later, there was a full-on fanboy war between the Apple and Google sides. But the point was actually something we can look back on. Was Android surging ahead of the iPhone in the United States because Apple only had a deal with AT&T? Let’s revisit, shall we? At the point that post was written, the Verizon iPhone was just a rumor. It was an oft-cited rumor, but still just a rumor. Apple had a deal with one carrier in the U.S., AT&T. Meanwhile, there were Android devices on all four major U.S. carriers. And by all accounts, the ones being sold by Verizon were doing the best in terms of sales. 20+ phones on four carriers (including the nation’s largest) were outselling one phone on one carrier. It was really shocking. It wasn’t until four months after the post that Verizon officially announced they were getting the iPhone. At it was a full five months later that it actually went on sale. That was roughly one quarter ago, so the data has started to trickle in and take shape. And guess what? It sure looks like the iPhone on a second carrier, Verizon, halted Android’s march. In April, when NPD data had the iPhone market share push a bit forward while Android saw a small decline, it was perhaps a bit too early to read into it. But a month later, Nielsen data suggested that Android share was indeed flattening, and most credited the 2.2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the two months of its existence on the carrier as the reason. A few days ago, a report by Needham using IDC data suggested that Android’s market share peaked in March, and was now on the decline as Apple’s share was rising again. This was the first quarterly share decline that Android had ever seen. Why? It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Earlier today, BTIG Research put out a report showing that in both AT&T and Verizon stores across the country, the iPhone is now the top selling device in most stores. Four months ago, the iPhone did not exist in Verizon stores. Now it’s easily outselling any Android device in the majority of stores. To be fair, as before, the sheer number of different Android devices out there means they’re undoubtedly still outselling the iPhone when combined together. But the market share numbers suggest that even this discrepancy has collapsed. That’s pretty amazing. And let’s keep something in mind — by most accounts, the Verizon iPhone launch was not the massive blow-out many were predicting. Why? It’s likely that a sizable chunk of would-be Verizon iPhone buyers believed a newer model would launch in the summertime, just a few months away, just like it always had in the past. That turned out not to be the case, and it now looks like the iPhone 5 will launch this fall. But Apple gave no guidance on that either way. So a lot of customers have been left waiting. (Though the white iPhone helped a bit.) And guess what happens when the iPhone 5 does launch in the fall on both Verizon and AT&T? It’s going to be massive. So massive that I wouldn’t be surprised if the one device does actually reverse the Android’s march forward. At the very least, it will do so in the short term. Yes, one device on two carriers could well outsell dozens of devices on four carriers. And if and when the government approves the AT&T/T-Mobile deal (which is BS, but will happen), we’ll see the iPhone on the top two of three carriers in the U.S. Apple doesn’t really need Sprint anymore, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPhone on the carrier next year. So in that regard, the Android vs. iPhone argument is becoming a more fair one in the U.S. market. Apple is never going to make dozens of devices to match Android in “choice”, but the carrier part of the equation is being negated. In other words, at least in part, Android is no longer surging because Apple is no longer letting it. [image: flickr/victoria white2010]

Ship or Get Off the Pot

On Tuesday Steve Ballmer fired Bob Muglia, and Google fired H.264 from Chrome. The tubes are heated up with analysis of these two seemingly unassociated events, and I figure I’ll mash them together into a counter-intuitive scenario. The unifying driver: Tuesday’s new iPhone 4 announcement from Verizon.

We hear lots about Android these days as a million tablets bloom at CES. But the world we’re hearing about is the one where Apple lives in a one-carrier model. It’s a Model T world where you can have any color as long as it’s AT&T. Every day people walk into any other carrier store and walk out with Android, because they don’t know the difference. Contrary to the pr, the Android sell to the broad market is not about Open v. Closed, or store v. market, or any of the direct feature comparisons.

That’s because the features are comparable, the experience is similar, the sell is based on stepping up to the iPhone experience whether it’s called Kleenex or Cheerios or the supermarket knock off. The knock off becomes the brand. But in doing this jujitsu, Google has created a climate where the knock off is vulnerable to attack if the rules that got them there change. Google having given the carriers a reasonably indistinguishable knock off to sell, Apple can now safely drop the exclusive wedge for disintermediating carrier profit margin havens such as tethering and IM and eventually VoIP.

Snap. Verizon offers iPhone 4. Forget the slight redesign, forget the lack of multitasking between data and voice, forget the pricing models for unlimited, tethering, and video chat over 3G. Now the store brand is competing directly with the actual iPhone. Naturally the pent-up demand by Verizon contractees will blow out the overall numbers. But much more importantly, Apple is free to ship an iPhone 5 across the board, where existing contractees can be marketed to with bundled services, i.e. the new TV, the new Enterprise, the new Office. One device, with the carriers battling for the most attractive rendering of services.

This is where we switch over to Google’s H.264 move. Faced with ship or get off the pot, Google will do whatever it needs to do to establish its platform as a unique and valuable proposition. With H.264 store brand adoption over 50%, Apple has reached the point where its Flash blockade is no longer painful to the majority of iOS users. With a broad non-exclusive base opening up, Apple is free to blow out the market unless something radical is done — destabilize the inevitability argument around Flash-is-dead by a weird combination of OpenFUD and brute force. Never mind that it tells its developers and Chrome adopters to never believe a word Google says about its motivations and reliability of partner strategy.

In effect, Google is broadening its mission statement from “What’s good for the Web is good for us” to “What’s good for the Web and bad for Apple is good for us.” At best, it’s Google water-testing VP8 to gauge its patent liabilities; at worst it’s a weak signal if they reverse course. It suggests a certain thin-skinnedness over the Verizon deal and its bandwagon implications, and underlines the alacrity of the timing (over the next two months) within which Chrome will be crippled. And the short term fix is to continue to support Flash as a way around having to download another plug in. The weird thing here is that this begins to feel like a Google version of a Silverlight play, starting with video and Chrome and then marching through the other browsers via YouTube.

Silverlight is seen by some as the reason Bob Muglia was sent packing, most likely by Steve Sinofsky consolidating power to succeed Ballmer. Muglia and Ray Ozzie were surprisingly in synch around using Silverlight as a stalking horse for embedding Windows in an uber Web OS, disagreeing (or subtly agreeing) only over the timing of the transition. While Ozzie owned the vision and strategy, Muglia owned the execution and a rising revenue base in the Servers and Tools Business. The black helicopter noise suggests Muglia was undermined by the retrenchment around Silverlight he surfaced in an interview with Mary Jo Foley, but here again Apple’s Verizon deal around iPhone 4 and a Verizon iPad threatens Microsoft much more directly by accelerating iOS and damaging both Windows Phone and the MIA Windows tablet.

Just as with Android market success, Ozzie and Muglia’s success at destabilizing private cloud margins for servers and the increasingly irrelevant and collaboration-free Office platform in order to save the company has created an Azure economy that needs to be managed by a new breed of president, or by Ballmer directly. Google has moved way past Microsoft in mobile, and now Apple is moving back out in front of both. Ironically, Ozzie leaving cut Muglia’s legs out from under him, as his P&L looks good compared to everybody else but Sinofsky’s.

In the Ozzie/Muglia era, Microsoft learned how to speak a newer language of openness and resolve to move forward into the cloud. In the Sinofsky/Ballmer era, they get to keep the cloud because they have to, and try and manage their way out of the collapse of their enterprise channel before Office is pulled out from under them. Meanwhile, a new generation of store brand social workers are using a new message bus, with Apple driving the innovation curve around a realtime set of dynamic objects. FaceTime, AirPlay, the Mac AppStore, the Twitter realtime Mac app, and so on.

Once again: Verizon capitulates on behalf of the carriers to Apple. Google, flush with having educated the market across the carriers about the superphone, suddenly shows weakness and collapse of trust messaging by trying to damage Apple via a phony open source/standards gambit. Microsoft, flush with barely being all in on the cloud, fires its cloud chief to appease the old guard’s Ballmer heir by completing the Silverlight coup, papering over its mobile collapse, and rolling back to the state Ozzie had rescued them from. iOS wins 2 out of 3 phone sales, 4 out of 5 tablets, transforms its Mac OS to the new iOS mobile AppStore, and competes head to head with Google and its old Microsoft model. Thanks, Verizon.


Was It Google And Verizon Or The FCC That Just Screwed Us On Mobile Net Neutrality?

We’ve already covered the FCC Net Neutrality vote earlier today, but something new has come to light. Something that’s very odd. Something that’s quite frankly a little terrifying.

Engadget dug up the FCC’s release [PDF] and found the following nugget buried in the all-important section “Measured Steps for Mobile Broadband”:

Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android.  In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.

In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband

While that may read like it’s a statement from Google or Verizon — actually, the entire section reads a lot like their joint proposal — it’s actually the FCC’s statement. Yes, that’s the FCC citing Android’s openness as a reason why they don’t need to impose net neutrality rules for mobile broadband.

Except wait. What the hell does an open operating system have anything to do with network access? Nilay Patel wonders this. John Gruber wonders this. Everyone should wonder this. It really does almost read as if they just copied what Google and Verizon laid out and forgot to remove the self-promotion.

As Patel writes:

… if we were slightly more paranoid, we’d be pretty sure there’s a link between the FCC’s Android mention and the combined furious lobbying of Google and Verizon.

I am slightly more paranoid. What the hell is Android doing in that statement?

I’ve made my thoughts on Android’s “openness” very clear. So have others. I believe the carriers are taking advantage of it and will continue to do so to the detriment of consumers. Now the FCC is using the “openness” label to screw us on net neutrality? Great.

Why doesn’t the FCC just say something like: “We just attended this great Google conference and heard that Android was open. Therefore, we see no need to regulate mobile broadband. It’s open, you see. That’s good for everyone. That means that everyone is going to do the right thing. An open operating system ensures there won’t be any throttling or filtering. Why? Because. Well. Open! Verizon agrees.”

It was only a month ago that FCC head Julius Genachowski said that the Verizon/Google proposal “slowed down” the process of coming up with a net neutrality proposal. Apparently, that’s because they had to rewrite the thing to include exactly what Verizon and Google agreed upon.

And now you see the danger of Google backtracking and screwing us in this regard. It seems greed, for lack of a better word, was just too good.


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