Google gets it from all sides

Mind the Gap

This week, App Annie released its findings for the first part of 2015. The results aren’t surprising, but they are important. The revenue gap between iOS and Android is steadily growing, with iOS App Store revenue a full 70% higher than Google Play. These widely diverging figures are problematic for Google. Though they have more downloads – to the tune of 45% more – Apple is breaking away with way more revenue. This makes things doubly worse for Google, because each individual user is worth less and less. And it bodes ill for Google’s future as well; most of Android’s growth in the future will be less-valuable users in terms of revenue. While they’re aiming to add the next billion users, those users will be in developing countries and therefore unable to spend as much as their iOS-loving Western counterparts. And if we bring wearables into the picture (and, let’s face it, we’re all thinking about the Watch), will this revenue inequity continue? Will a particularly killer Apple Watch app even make it to Android Wear?

A Googleless Android

A few weeks ago we reported on Microsoft’s investment in Cyanogen. While we thought it was impressive that the normally staid giant was expanding its horizons, we weren’t sure why. Until now. Microsoft and Cyanogen have announced their partnership and are planning to bring Microsoft apps to the Cyanogen OS. This of course means they’ll be able to circumvent the usually all-powerful Google, and make an Android phone that doesn’t make use of Google Play services. It’s a monumental task to fork Android and and go without Google’s Play Services (Maps, apps store, Google Fit, etc) but this could be Microsoft’s Plan-B should Windows Phone continue its decline.

So Microsoft is attempting to do what Google does so well, pre-installing Microsoft apps for deeper integration. Why is this important? Well, if they are considering (quietly) letting Windows Phone go the way of the Zune forking Android would allow Microsoft to reboot and still be in the mobile game. And for Cyanogen, it allows them to become a major player, creating their own Googleless Android like Xiaomi has.

The EU v. Google

This week also marked the official announcement that the EU is investigating Google for antitrust violations. Reuters reported that “EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the U.S. company, which dominates Internet search engine markets worldwide, had been sent a Statement of Objections – effectively a charge sheet – to which it has 10 weeks to respond.”

While the EU charges don’t specifically mention Android, there’s the implication that they’re looking at Android too as violators. Google is forcing OEMs to use their services, leveraging their unchallenged search monopoly to dominate everything else they touch.

This makes the Cyanogen/Microsoft partnership even more interesting. As the antitrust case carries on, there may be more room for Google Services competitors like Microsoft to enter the ring.

Poor Google, getting it from all sides this week.