Fascinating editorial article from the JoongAng Daily regarding a tremendous missed opportunity by Samsung to buy the rights to Android. Lee Chul-ho, editorial writer at JoongAng recently read the book, “In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives” and shared this golden nugget:
According to the book, [Andy] Rubin spent his own money to buy a plane ticket and visited Samsung Electronics to sell his newly produced Android. He recalled the visit very vividly. Dressed in a pair of jeans, Rubin and his coworker entered an enormous conference room, where about 20 executives in navy blue suits stood along the walls.
Rubin recalled that when the division head of Samsung entered the meeting, all the executives then sat down. It appears that Korea’s peculiar corporate culture made a deep impression on Rubin.
After Rubin gave his presentation, the Samsung Electronics division head gave a big laugh.
“Your company has eight workers. We have 2,000 working in that particular field,” Rubin recalled him as saying.
It was not a compliment. Before Samsung asked about Android’s price tag, negotiations broke down.
So, Google swoops in and buys Android for the hindsight bargain based price of $50 million. Exceedingly cheap considering that Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube.
What if Samsung owned Android instead of Google? Well, it may have been able to corner the market on smartphones without a fruit as its logo and simply been able to cut HTC and Motorola out. However, Lee Chul-ho believes that due to Samsung’s rigid management structure, they may not have been able to develop Android to a sufficient degree to make it market deployable. It may have just languished as a “science fair” pet project in the bowels of Samsung’s extensive R&D bureaucracy.