More Reasons Why Google Won't Merge Android and Chrome OS
Last month, some big moves going on at Google got many people excited about the idea that Google might merge its Chrome OS and Android platforms, creating a simple and open unified operating system strategy. A number of reports appeared concluding that Chrome OS and Android are headed for a merger. Then, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt appeared to confirm that the company will develop the platforms separately (some are still arguing that he did not confirm this).
There are several reasons why Google won't merge these operating systems, creating a unified development path similar to the one that Mark Shuttleworth envisions for Ubuntu for computers, phones and tablets. Among these is the fact that Android and Chrome OS provide separate, uniquely valuable on-ramps to Google's lucrative advertising ecosystem.
Check out some numbers that MSN Money has compiled:
- Google's ad sales contributed 94% to its total revenues in 2012. It also leads in mobile search ads, with 97% of the market.
- The reason for this dominance is the widely popular Android operating system (OS) for smartphones, which had a 48% share of ad impressions for 2012 (Marketing Charts).
In short, as far as Google is concerned, Android is doing just fine, thanks. Don't rock the boat.
A lot of people don't realize this about Android. Although it resides on phones from many hardware makers, it steers people all over the globe into Google's ad ecosystem, and that's where Google makes its big money. The mechanics of steering users toward the ads on a small mobile device are entirely different from the mechanics of steering them toward ads on a Chromebook. Google is not going to haphazardly disrupt how these mechanics work.
Mobile platforms are no longer slightly differentiated flavors of traditional operating systems intended for computers, I wrote when this topic first began circulating. Leading mobile platforms have to be built from the ground up to serve dedicated mobile tasks in lean, efficient ways, where display sizes and keyboard sizes can present challenges, and ads are served up differently from how they are served up on computers. Smart companies--and Google has smart people--will see the value in dedicated development of mobile tools that serve different purposes.