Google hires heavyweights to lead mobile charge

Web giant Google has been busy adding more ‘hero’ executives to its ranks as it prepares to really stake a claim in the mobile space.

As of Monday morning, Tim Bray, co-founder of web technology XML, worked for Google as developer advocate for the Android platform.

Bray joins Google from Sun Microsystems/Oracle, and seems to be under no illusions about his new employer. “[Google is] now too big to be purely good or in fact purely anything. I’m sure that tendrils of stupidity and evil are even now finding interstitial breeding grounds whence they will emerge to cause grief. And there are some Google initiatives that I feel no urge to go near.

“But…The reason I’m here is mostly Android. Which seems to me about as unambiguously a good thing as the tangled wrinkly human texture of the Net can sustain just now,” he said on his personal blog.

For Bray, Android is developer-friendly with low barriers to entry for the several million Java programmers worldwide and represents a system where anyone can build any hardware they want around the Android software and anyone can sell any program they write via the Android Market.

He also has a beef with Apple, which Bray sees as the polar opposite of the Android model.

“As of now, [Apple is] selling around 90K iPhones per day compared to around 60K Android handsets. It’s a horse race!” But, “The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

“I hate it.

“I hate it even though the iPhone hardware and software are great, because freedom’s not just another word for anything, nor is it an optional ingredient.”


The 5th annual Open Strategies in Mobile event takes place in London, October 19 – 20, 2010

Strong words indeed. But to be fair, Apple’s model is to invite people into its walled Disneyland, where they have to play by Apple’s rules. The open internet continues to go about its business regardless, no one is obliged to jump on the Apple cart. And besides Bray leading the Android charge, Google is also adding to its armoury in the payments, e-commerce and online retail sectors.

The firm recently hired eBay and PayPal executive Stephanie Tilenius in the newly created position of VP of commerce. At the moment, the information about Tilenius’ remit is purely speculative, placing her in charge of Google Checkout. This is of course, an essential part of Google’s Android strategy too, as it provides the payments processing platform for Android Market as well as the online retail system for Google’s own-branded handsets like the Nexus One.

On a related note, the UK launch of the Nexus One – due to take place this month – has now been delayed until mid-April, reportedly while Google irons out issues with its retail and customer support systems.

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One comment

  1. Avatar App Developer 16/03/2010 @ 3:49 pm

    Google having a pop at Apple is a bit rich – where was Google a few years ago in terms of developing an effective smartphone solution in a market without one.
    And it’s all very well Google being generous – giving away stuff for free rather than allowing other people to make a living from it… whilst they’re at it why don’t they give away their PPC revenues – or at least pay tax in the UK on them?
    Google’s desire for data and usage is insatiable – will they share that aspect of Android with everybody as well?
    Apple isn’t perfect by any means but – right now I trust Apple more than Google.

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