Why Mention Android

Facebook is apparently due to launch an Android-based phone next week. John Sherrod wonders why they bother to mention the Android brand at all (emphasis mine):

Lately the trend has been for companies to develop phones and tablets based on a heavily customized version of Android and not even mention Google’s OS in their press events. The mention of Android is particularly surprising given all the ways that Google and Facebook compete with one another.

Google has been ridiculed in the years since Android’s debut for failing to profit much from the technology, in spite of using it to stake out a modicum of control over a large segment of the mobile industry.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Facebook product is a success. Let’s assume they make a ton of money off of it. What better way to rub it in a competitor’s face than to make it very clear that you succeeded not in spite of but thanks to their technology. That you succeeded with it in a way that they couldn’t?

Mentioning Android today sets the stage for a graceful postmortem, regardless. If Facebook’s phone is a flop, they can assign some blame to Android (c.f. Motorola Rokr). If it’s a huge hit: “Google, we pwned you!”

(Via Daring Fireball)