Reuters and Bloomberg independently report that Google is pushing Samsung to back away from its duplicate Android ecosystem and promote Google applications instead. Both sites saw “correspondence”; between the two companies, which pushed Samsung to promote Play Play and Google Assistant in the Galaxy App Store and Samsung Bixby assistant. Google was clearly willing to open its wallet and pay Samsung to do so.
The interpretation of Bloomberg’s negotiations is rather vague, arguing that the agreement “would support Google’s digital assistant and the Play Play store for applications on [Samsung] “Reuters’ later report is much more specific,” says Samsung, “considering launching its Bixby virtual assistant and Galaxy Apps Store from its mobile devices. “Reuters further states that” Google is placing more lucrative terms for Samsung than in previous offers if it withdraws from its application strategy. “Part of Google’s vast Android protection site is to share advertising revenue and application revenue in the Play Store with phone manufacturers. Offering a higher share of Samsung is an easy way to bribe a South Korean company. .
Whether Samsung would really be willing to kill Bixby and the Galaxy App store is on the air. Samsung has invested a lot of money in Bixby since its launch in 2017, but Bixby has not been very successful. Samsung acquired the startup assistant Viv Labs, founded by the creators of Siri, and forced the company to work on improving Bixby. However, Samsung’s voice assistant still can’t stay in the same crowd as Google’s assistant, Siri from Apple and Amazon’s Alexa.
Voice assistants are the primary interfaces between the search engine and the service ecosystem, two things that Samsung doesn’t really invest in, so it was difficult for the company to turn Bixby into something useful. When you say “mark yourself”, where is it going? Google and Apple have an extensive ecosystem for notes, music, reminders, calendar events, photos, maps, and more, all available from your phone and the web. Samsung’s ecosystem gap means that Bixby relies on third-party tiled web services or application management on your Samsung phone, which are mostly the forks of Google’s core Android applications.
Samsung’s Bixby comes on its Android devices, Tizen smartwatches, and some refrigerators (no, really). But that’s about it. Samsung announced Bixby’s smart speaker as “Galaxy Home” in 2018, but it’s been almost two years and you won’t see the product anywhere. Samsung has instead turned to the cheaper “Galaxy Home Mini”, but it seems that the Home Mini has not even become a commercial product. Samsung offered it as a free bonus for some Galaxy S20 pre-orders in South Korea, but it’s not for sale. The real test of a voice assistant is a smart speaker that has no interface other than voice, and Samsung doesn’t seem convinced that Bixby is capable of downloading it. The main problem I see killing Bixby is that it would leave a Samsung smart watch without a voice assistant. I doubt Google would create a Google Help for Tizen watches.
The Samsung Galaxy App is used to update the basic Android apps from Samsung that come with your phone, but there’s really no reason to keep them in most countries. It is difficult to rely solely on the Play Store because Google Play is not available in China, so Samsung’s own app store is useful in that country. However, the company’s app store does not appear to be entirely successful in China – the AppInChina App Store index ranks Samsung as the 15th most popular app store in China.
I have a problem imagining that Samsung will leave Bixby and the Galaxy app store when it was so worried about its dependence on Google in the past. Bloomberg accuses coronaviruses of opening Samsung to something similar, saying: “The decline in demand for mobile devices during the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened the company’s revenue needs and weakened its bargaining position with a key partner.”
Google products currently have a very strong default location on Samsung phones. The Play and Google Search stores bar comes on the first home screen, and Google is the default search engine. When we last saw the Google Play Store Terms of Service and Android Application Licensing, the agreement stated the location and preference of Google services. Google has made things like the location of the search bar and the Play Store icon a condition for licensing closed Android apps to Google apps – Google has been looking for places on the home screen.
In fact, the EU has taken on Google’s role under its placement rules, saying that Google’s licensing terms were anti-competitive. Google argued that Android development was offered free of charge to OEMs, and the inclusion and placement of these applications financed its development through advertising and application revenue. Google’s concession for EU regulators has been to add a paid level of flexibility to Google Play licenses, where OEMs can pay up to $ 40 to separate Google’s applications and placement requirements.
Nothing about Google’s license terms prevents phone manufacturers from building competitive and duplicate services. The Galaxy App Store also lives on the Samsung phone on the home screen, right next to the Play store. Bixby usually gets its own dedicated hardware button on the side of the Samsung phone, and although it is now possible to change it to another application, you can’t specifically map it to Google Now.
Reuters claims that “companies are trying to complete the conditions by Friday.” Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note 20 is next week, which seems too early to see dramatic software changes. However, we will look for the importance of Bixby in the company’s presentation.