Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the search giant’s Android and Chrome operating systems will not be combined into one platform but did allow that some overlap between the two might occur, according to reports.
Schmidt made his Android and Chrome comments while speaking in India, also flatly denying rumors that he would leave Google, calling the buzz “completely false.” Schmidt is in India as part of a multicountry Asian junket to promote Internet access.
Last week, Google sparked speculation about Android’s and Chrome's future positioning when it shuffled its management ranks to move Android chief Andy Rubin out and place Chrome and Apps chief Sundar Pichai in charge of both business units, as revealed in a rather casual blog post from CEO Larry Page. The move made Pichai the lone boss for both operating systems, prompting the question, of course, of whether the two will be melded into one platform, fueled by the fact Google didn’t say much about Rubin’s new position.
One day later, Google amped up matters when Geo and Commerce Unit boss Jeff Huber stepped aside in yet another reorganization as the company folded the Geo division into its Search Unit and moved Commerce to the Advertising Group. Alan Eustace heads Search and Susan Wojcicki leads Advertising.
Huber moved to Google X, the company’s cutting-edge business handling projects such as Google Glass and driverless cars and no longer reports to Page. With the reorg, Google’s business unit management now resides in the hands of five people: Pichai; Eustace; Wojcicki; Vic Gundotra, who heads Google +; and Salar Kamangar, who runs YouTube.
As for Android and Chrome, it’s a stretch even to call them birds of the same feather, so Schmidt clearly has a point. Chrome wants to makes its bones based on web applications in the cloud while Android’s cloth is cut from native apps installed in the mobile device. But the lines between the two will be blurred more, as evidenced by Google’s Chromebook Pixel, which features touch-screen technology.
According to Strategy Analytics, for 2012, the mobile OS now commands a 68.4 percent share of the market compared to Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS at 19.4 percent. Both figures were higher for Q4, 2012, suggesting Android still has room to push ahead, although Pichai will have defend its position against not only iOS but also new or revived competitors such as Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone, BlackBerry and the open source Tizen. Samsung, for example, just said it will bring to market a Tizen-based smartphone later this year.