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Stanford: Google Andriod: Will It Shake up Wireless Industry in 2009 and Beyond

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  1. To what extent are the different stakeholders aligned with Google? Evaluate for each one of them (carriers, app developers, handset manufacturers…) the pros and cons of joining Google in 2009.

  1. Are the conditions in place for a strong consortium to succeed? To answer this question, pick up the perspective of a consultant to either (1) Nokia; (2) ATT or (3) An App developer, and write a memo with your advice including your view on what everyone else will do and why the standard will or not succeed.


Note: For clarity purposes, that which we’re evaluating – referring to “Google” in the above question – is the extent to which each stakeholder in this scenario is aligned with Google’s strategic collective umbrella of initiatives, including (a) the introduction of Android to the mobile telecoms market; (b) their support of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA); (c) the design and production of Android-enabled devices; and (d) any other related services, products or offerings, including Google’s other applications and services. Such an evaluation is necessary due to the far-reaching nature of these initiatives.

  1. Carriers / Operators: US-based: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel

2009 PROS

  • New, significant and diversified data-focused revenue streams, brought on by the exploding mobile subscriber and mobile application markets, e.g., increased ARPUs due to consumers increased data usage.
  • Increased smart phone (and feature phone) adoption of newly designed, feature-rich phones, coming as a product of the larger network effect.
  • Higher phone / device margins as greater Android adoption would lead to better designed, and hopefully cheaper phones. Since carriers offer deep discounts on phones, many of them expensive, greater competition for OEMs would drive down their prices thus allowing carriers to capture more value.
  • Greater ability to recoup multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments as more users join the platform, and as more users purchase the lower cost Android smart phones.
  • Ease of support as the market consolidates around Android and Apple.

2009 CONS

  • While the pie will grow, the ability of carriers to capture that value will come down to their ability to secure the right partnerships with OEMs and app developers.
  • Obsolescence of each carrier specific value-added services, e.g., their own respective entertainment services, as Google could offer this as part of their base services.
  • Potential to become dumb pipes, i.e., to be reduced to just a data service provider at cut throat commodity prices.

  1. App Developers / Software Providers, incl. operating system vendors

2009 PROS

  • Greater exposure to app users.
  • More revenue generating ability.
  • More cohesive community to drive peer-influenced innovation.
  • Likelihood to scale Android app development across multiple platforms.
  • Absence of licence fees on SDKs driving down development costs.
  • OS has tons of in-built features that enables quicker go-to-market design; drives positive user experience.
  • Greater recognition, financial backing and stronger support from venture capital competitions.

2009 CONS

  • General hit or miss that comes with software development, i.e., if people don’t adopt your app you don’t get paid.
  • Lower sustainability in app development and support and lower revenue generating ability due to greater forking; drives up your OPEX, lower net income.

  1. Handset Manufacturers / OEMs

2009 PROS

  • Sell more, higher margin smartphones; driven by this smarter operating system.
  • Higher switching costs as they developed OEM-branded phones, in further iterations of the phone.
  • Greater brand loyalty as an outcome of better products, e.g., Android specific-designed chips resulting in better user experience, better battery, better performance, etc.
  • Greater ability to recapture market share, to compete with the iPhone.

2009 CONS

  • Lower ability to create value with differentiated hardware as the OS became more important.
  • More, significant R&D spends as market moved away from feature phones to smart phones; each OEM has to constantly innovate to keep up with the market.
  • Redundancy of and no realization of ROI on in-house developed software because platform was now open sourced.

  1. Consumers

2009 PROS

  • Greater competition drives innovation, e.g., Android vs iOS, open vs closed system.
  • Better user experience from better network infrastructure and better devices.
  • Made smart phones more affordable, compared to expensive iPhones.

2009 CONS

  • Better user experience from better network infrastructure and better devices.
  • Higher cost basket of goods for the average consumer; FOMO drives smartphone adoption, but it means you’re ultimately spending more money.

  1. Memo as Consultant for App Developers

To: My Fellow Comrades

From: Your Favorite Consultant’s Favorite Consultant

Subject: Android is Coming – All Hail the Revolution!

Beloved Comrades,

I’m writing today to bring attention to a very exciting opportunity for the App Developers within our cohort. As mentioned in previous correspondences, Google is now more than a year into developing its new Android-related platforms and services along with its OHA consortium, and the verdict is in: Google’s Android is a true game changer! Having witnessed first-hand what they’re currently accomplishing, along with much of the primary research we’ve performed, the following are legitimate reasons why we think this initiative by the world’s largest search provider could transform the is a truly exciting opportunity.



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