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Is the Success of Google's Android a Threat to Free Software?

Dec 21, 2009, 16:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

"When Google first announced its Linux-based Android mobile phone platform just over two years ago, many were sceptical. After all, the reasoning went, the world of mobile phones is very different from that of computers. Similar doubts greeted the first Android phone, the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1), when it appeared last year. But something strange has happened in the last twelve months, with a growing chorus of approval for the Android platform and its phones.

"For example, numbers are emerging that suggest that Android has established a real beachhead in the mobile market:

"Google's open-source Android operating system accounted for more than one in four of the smartphone ads served in November by AdMob, the mobile ad network that Google agreed to buy for $750 million six weeks ago. That's up from 20 percent in October.

"That means Apple's iPhone, which seemed untouchable only a few months ago, has a fast-rising competitor. Apple's share of ad requests is twice as big — 55% — but Android traffic is eating into iPhone growth, rather than being pushed aside by the iPhone as happened to Nokia."

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