Google is trying to negotiate a deal with Samsung that would lead to increase Google’s dominance within Samsung’s handsets globally. The deal will result in Samsung giving more prominence to Google’s Assistant and Play Store, over its own alternatives.
Being the largest manufacturer of smartphones and making around 300 million sales last year, Samsung leads the global market, then why is it striking this deal with Google that will result in its mobile services like Bixby Digital Assistant fall in the background?
This is a result of the current COVID 19 pandemic, which has led to a major fall in the company’s revenue and hence weakened its negotiating powers. Samsung has always tried to make its own environment and has worked hard on keeping its services atop.
But it’s already on a downward trajectory, the smartphone market was felled by COVID-19, and hence, this move was inevitable for Samsung.
What the companies had to say about the deal
“Like all Android device makers, Samsung is free to create its own app store and digital assistant,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “That’s one of the great features of the Android platform. And while we regularly talk with partners about ways to improve the user experience, we have no plans to change that.”
A spokesperson of Samsung replied with, “Samsung remains committed to our own ecosystem and services. At the same time, Samsung closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences for our users.”
The Google, Samsung Partnership
The relationship between the two tech giants has been tense, yet fruitful. Google’s mobile operating system — Android — has been sort of a bridge for the two companies. Google provides it for free but with conditions like pre-installing its Play app store and suite of commercial products like Search, Chrome, and YouTube. In return, Google sometimes agrees to share advertising revenue with the manufacturers.
Google and Samsung have reportedly had arguments over Samsung’s android customizations before, where Samsung reportedly agreed to tone down some of its TouchWiz tweaks in 2014. But it seems like Google has not moved on from this.
According to Bloomberg, Google has a multi-billion-dollar agreement with Apple to be the default search provider in the Safari browser.
This deal comes at a time when Google is already under antitrust scrutiny, along with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, and is trying to convince the US lawmakers that it is not abusing power. Though this deal might cause damage to Google’s argument that Android platforms enable strong competition.