Farhood Manjoo has a piece in PandoDaily that runs with the idea that Google should close off Android and start licensing it like Microsoft does with Windows Phone:
So here’s Google’s opportunity: It could charge phone makers $10 per Android license, raising the total per-copy cost of Android to between $20 and $25. Sure, Samsung, HTC and others may balk, but what are they going to do about the added cost? Going to Windows would be more expensive and confusing to their businesses. As an inducement, Google could also begin settlement negotiations with Microsoft and other patent litigants to reduce Android’s licensing costs. Given all this, phone manufacturers would stick with Android—and Google would make a killing.
By killing, Manjoo clearly doesn’t mean a killing like the one Apple is making off the iPhone — though that’s the company Manjoo compares Google to earlier in his piece:
The numbers ought to ring alarm bells in Mountain View. They prove the folly of Google’s Android business model: Free and “open” (or clopen) may make money someday, but it’s hard to see how it’s ever going to make Apple-like profits.
Let’s assume that Google licenses their phones at ten bucks per and vendors are able to sell 250 million Android phones next year. Google would get $2.5 billion in revenue from licenses. Then they’d get another $2.5 billion from ads. That’s $5 billion a year. The only way that’s “killing it” is if you completely remove Apple from the comparison. The Cupertino folks had $24 billion and change in sales from the iPhone — in one quarter.
There’s only one way to make Apple-like profits in the phone business and that’s with an Apple-like approach: complete control of hardware and software.
And to this point by Manjoo:
Sure, Samsung, HTC and others may balk, but what are they going to do about the added cost?
Hmm, lemme think. I’m just spitballing here, but maybe they could take the OS that’s already been opened, fork it and say goodbye to Google with a “fuck you very much”?