The Google India Monopoly – Developer’s Perspective | by Jay | The Sanguine technical trainer | Sep 2021
When I was young, thinking of companies like Google and Facebook was a feeling of goodness. I remember when I was still in college, the people who ended up working for Google or Facebook, I held them in high regard. I believed that these are companies that are fighting for the common man with their free services, dedication to open source and so on.
Of course, now you know their true monopoly nature.
Note: Today I read about it on engadget, which sparked this post. “India says Google abused Android dominance“
I mean, look at those cute ads that Google India puts where it shows a young lady craving home. Then an older woman makes homemade pickles (or whatever) and sells them. You’ll never see a young man wanting to go home and an older man making pickles. It won’t earn you enough brownie points.
All of this is very heartwarming. What he does not show …
- These two women absolutely must use an Android phone
- They both have to use apps that track their location, their data, everything 24X7
- Women should use Google search to find their business.
- Women must use Google Maps to travel
- Women must use any of Google’s video, audio, or chat apps
- Women must use Google Pay to pay for their purchases
- Women should store all of their photos in Google Drive
- Women should use Google Mail to communicate with each other
- Women should use Google “Whatever Something” to Googling themselves so Google can Googling them for the rest of their lives. It’s a wonderful world of Google Life.
Now, of course you could argue, no one is preventing these people (and the millions of Indians) from using anything else.
However, that’s the deal isn’t it? In India, the only smartphone the average person can buy is powered by Android.
And Google ‘demands’ that every Android phone MUST absolutely contain all of the google apps I listed above. You also cannot uninstall Google apps. You cannot delete Gmail. You cannot delete Google Drive. You cannot delete Google Maps.
I haven’t used an Android phone for a few years, but I guess YouTube can’t be deleted either.
At the end of the day, in my family and friends circle, almost everyone spends their entire day on Google Apps (YouTube, Search, Maps, Drive) or Facebook Apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram).
Is it any wonder that these two companies spent billions of dollars to acquire a stake in Jio, India’s largest mobile operator? Now they are also launching a Google / Facebook phone (which will have even more impossible-to-remove apps) branded and marketed for the “poor”? (Read here – Jio Phone Next – The good and the bad – Developer’s point of view).
These companies are afraid of losing, even to the poor. They want to put phones in the homes of people who can’t afford them (to ‘enable’ their digital lives), so that they can also collect data about them.
2015 was when I had personal experience of Google’s fear of Microsoft and, by extension, of any competition. I was a regular Windows Phone user and have a Microsoft MVP award in Windows Phone. Yes, I am a huge fan.
During the entire life of Windows Phone of 3 to 4 years, Google has done everything possible to “kill” Windows Phone. Nothing scares a monopoly than another product with similar characteristics. None of the Google apps ever made it to Windows Phone. Not even Google search!
Despite Windows Phone’s minimal market share, there were independent developers with budgets of $ 500, supporting their apps and games on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
Yet Google, with its billions, couldn’t support Windows Phone.
Then there was pettiness! At one point Microsoft had had enough and created a YouTube clone for Windows Phone using Google’s public YouTube API. It was really good. Then, within 24 hours, Google removed this Microsoft YouTube clone from the Windows Phone store, claiming a vague policy violation.
It’s a bit like those kids at school. A child has a brand new toy car. Now another kid is trying to make his own shiny new toy car. Now the first child goes back to class, throws the second child’s toy car into the water.
So now the only small car in the classroom is the first kid’s car. This is the magic of monopoly.
I have never seen a massive company become so jealous, scared or petty. Windows Phone failure was inevitable. I’m a fan, of course, but I’m well aware of its myriad flaws. Windows Phone would eventually fail. However, the behavior of Google (at the time) shocked me.
Of course, now I know. Google does this to everyone and everyone all over the world. Just look at the amount of antitrust fines he pays in Europe.
They fear a poorly designed and half-baked mobile operating system. Even a small chance of losing their grip on billions of users around the world was enough for them to jump to such low levels.
Monopolies are how billionaires are created. There are monopolies everywhere. For example, a few years ago in India we were spoiled for choice when it comes to mobile phone services. We had Docomo, Spice, Aircel, Telenor, Airtel, Vodafone. So many options!
Today we have Airtel, Vodafone and Jio left. Vodafone constantly talks about bankruptcy. I find it hard to understand how we got there. I miss the lack of choice.
With tech companies, this dominance is reaching extreme levels. As a developer (now retired) I see this all the time. When I was young, I thought that technology was the great flattener of inequalities. As I get older, my optimism about this thought diminishes.
These tech companies continue to bring a gun to a knife fight. It’s dirty, but, they win. Everytime.
I guess I was too naive to see it. I see that’s just the way the world works. It was like that before, and it is like that now.