October 9, 2011
Just yesterday, Google and Samsung released a joint statement pushing back the formal announcement of the former's "Ice Cream Sandwich" Android update (a.k.a. version 4.0) and the latter's tentatively-named Galaxy Nexus Prime smartphone. The short document, shared by Engadget, reads as follows:
Samsung and Google decide to postpone the new product announcement at CTIA Fall. We agree that it is just not the right time to announce a new product.Because the news came just two days after Steve Jobs' passing, it's been widely assumed that the move was made out of respect for the Apple founder and former CEO. Adding credence to that assumption, Samsung sent a follow-up to CNET, stating that the Korean company
believe[s] this is not the right time to announce a new product as the world expresses tribute to Steve Jobs's passing...While I appreciate the sentiment, I don't buy for a moment that the expressed rationale extends to any actual honor for Jobs. Unfortunately, though, that's the angle most news outlets are pushing. Headlines like this and this (and this and this) are flooding the internet, painting the appropriate picture of big corporate mourning and concern for the moral good. But that's not how it works. No, the real reason Google's OS and Samsung's handset are being pushed back is far more simplistic and commercially strategic: They simply didn't know when Apple was going to unveil its next-generation iPhone. As word finally came down, it turned out the pair's own event (scheduled for October 12) was sandwiched (Ha!) by Apple's October 4 reveal and next week's launch. Coupled with Jobs' unexpected death (which, understandably and justifiably, will command much of the world's primetime attention for the next several weeks), Google and Samsung had practically zero chance to grab even a tiny fraction of the mainstream international spotlight. Pushing their event back was the only way these two outfits could weather the storm, and -- from both a financial and (elementary) business standpoint -- it's absolutely the right thing to do. I'm only upset they're using Jobs to artificially ingratiate themselves to the pro-Apple market. On a personal level, I've no doubt these people feel something for the man and his family; and, on a professional level, I'm also ready to believe they actually revere his vision and leadership. But it's completely unbelievable they'd postpone their own events out of any so-called "respect." After all, Google didn't respect Jobs enough not to effectively plant a (possibly unwitting) spy on Apple's board before coincidentally, drastically altering its original entry into the mobile marketplace. And Samsung respected Jobs so much that it brashly abused its position as an Apple OEM partner, misappropriating confidential design plans to pull off this shameless stunt. I miss Steve Jobs. Greatly. Most of us do. And I'm convinced that, on some level, Google and Samsung (and every other Cupertino competitor) feels the same way. But it's an absolute insult for these notoriously cutthroat companies to seed such spin over an obvious product exposure conflict. Of course, maybe Google and Samsung need Steve Jobs' help a lot more than anyone thought. I just don't think they deserve it.