Google's in the Market for an Android

Can Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) beat Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) ? We'll find out soon enough. DoubleGoo this week announced Android Market, its answer to the iPhone's $30 million App Store.

But there are key differences, writes Eric Chu at the Android Developers blog: "We chose the term "market" rather than "store" because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available. Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: Register as a merchant, upload and describe your content, and publish it."

That's both interesting and chilling to me as a Google investor. Good news first: Developers are always more likely to write for and publish to an easy-to-use and supportive ecosystem, and Android Market appears to be that. The bad news: Copyright violations could become common.

Think about it. Apple's process for policing the App Store -- although flawed -- protects customers and developers. Copyrights are sacrosanct. Not so with Android Market, which professes ties to the Gootube model that's created a court conflict with Viacom (NYSE: VIA  ) . And let's not forget about Facebook, which faced the wrath of Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) for allowing digital Scrabble clone Scrabulous at its site.

Fortunately, there will be time to address potential abuses. Android Market is to roll out in stages, Chu writes:

Developers can expect the first handsets to be enabled with a beta version of Android Market. Some decisions are still being made, but at a minimum you can expect support for free (unpaid) applications. Soon after launch an update will be provided that supports download of paid content and more features such as versioning, multiple device profile support, analytics, etc.

Good. Google's culture of experimentation -- release first, debug later -- can unleash massive value even as it unleashes massive problems, as with the Viacom suit.

Android Market is a good idea. Maybe even a Rule Breaking idea. But with tough competitors such as Apple, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) and its Symbian, and a forthcoming mobile OS from Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) , getting the entire OS right is more important than getting it released quickly.

Or in simpler terms: This Android can wait.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had positions in shares of Nokia and Google, as well as in Google's 2010 LEAP options, at the time of publication. He hunts for the best of tech as a contributor to Motley Fool Rule Breakers, which counts Google among its core holdings. Here's how to try this market-beating service free for 30 days.

Apple and Hasbro are Stock Advisor selections. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is at a loss for words.


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  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2008, at 4:59 PM, networkeffect wrote:

    this sounds to me a lot like another thing Google will fail at and people will eventually just stop talking about it like they have for Google Base and Google Wallet.

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