Last August I wrote of South Korea's fears that Google's (NAS: GOOG) proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) would affect future licensing of the Android mobile operating system to other mobile-phone makers. As Samsung is now the world's largest producer of smartphones -- recently surpassing even Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPhone in sales -- this possibility hit a nerve with the South Korean government.
"In the long term, we cannot go on like this by solely relying on Google," said a South Korean deputy commerce minister at the time.
A little hand-holding
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, was in South Korea on Tuesday, letting the people know that the pending merger would not be a problem for them and that Android would remain free. "We will run [Motorola] sufficiently independently so it will not violate the openness of Android," he said at a news conference.
Back in August, the South Korean government asked its main electronics companies to cooperate in producing a mobile operating system to hedge their reliance on Android. Since then, Samsung -- which happens to be the largest maker of products that are powered by Android -- has also been developing mobile devices that will run on Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) operating systems.
Samsung has even been hinting that it will make available its own mobile operating system, called bada, bringing it to the U.S. if its carrier partners, such as Verizon (NYS: VZ) , would offer bada-powered handsets. It also suggested that it will work at expanding the available number of bada apps by opening the system up for developers.
Oh, Microsoft ...
A question at the press conference about Microsoft's requiring Samsung to pay it royalties for using Android under the threat of a patent infringement lawsuit got this reaction from Schmidt: "Microsoft is not telling the truth on this issue, and they are using tactics to scare people because they are scared of the success of Android."
Obviously, for Samsung to pay Microsoft a fee to use a piece of software that Google gives away for free gives a good indication of the seriousness Samsung takes any possible threat to losing Android. If South Korea's and Samsung's earlier actions, hints, and nudges were meant to get reassurance from Google that Android will be there for them, then it worked.
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Radovskyhas no financial interest in the above-mentioned companies. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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