A Samsung fork of Android not Google’s worst nightmare?

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There is this very interesting article on VentureBeat that sets out what would happen should Microsoft – not Samsung – choose to fork Android. A fork is a distinct and independent piece of software created from a copy of source code from an existing software. Because Android is open source, it is open to forking and has been forked in the past.

The VentureBeat article opens dramatically:

With the constant talk of Samsung pulling an Amazon and someday forking Android, it is frankly hard to imagine a compelling Samsung device that is missing Google Search, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps, and YouTube.

However, the one company that could ironically provide the most compelling fork of Android is Microsoft.

The argument is difficult to fault. In fact, it is a very appealing one. Perhaps Microsoft should give it a try. Here is what I’d love to see Microsoft do:

  • fork Android OS – Windroid? I vote for “Windrows”
  • replace all Google apps/services with its own equivalent: Outlook, Bing, IE, etc
  • keep the Windows Phone user interface, or a modified form of it
  • install one of the thriving 3rd party Android app stores to give users access to the legion of Android apps

Windroid: What if Microsoft forked Android?


  1. That idea sounds interesting on paper, but it’s my opinion that Google services are still better than those of Microsoft and such a move may not give Microsoft what they want, and that’s control and profits. People may actually buy such devices if their prices are competitive enough and have those Microsoft services replaced by the superior Google services and we’ll be back to square one where Google is still winning.

    The hacker community will also be on hand to make thing work by having and replacing components of the Microsoft Windroid or making replacing them easy. At the end of the day it will be who wins the war of services will actually be the real winner in this case.

  2. I hope to see this. It would def. work out well. Everyone likes the smoothness of WP UI, well except those that don’t. I use to be a Google guy but Bing services ain’t bad either; At least so far. Gaining popularity with this idea won’t be too difficult, all things being equal.

    My Point: Windows making a fork of Android replacing Google’s services with theirs is one great thing that would happen to the company. The killer? Sideloading Android apps. And please, if this will ever make it’s way into reality. Let it be on Lumias. [TO MICROSOFT]

  3. I’m thinking that will be epic because peeps might just buy that idea and the concept behind it but I sure hope they don’t kill windows phone os cause that will be the nail in the coffin that is if the decide to embark on this idea but make it a pet project the way Samsung is with Tizen might just work out but please I know amma be crucified for this, let the change the ui cause its too bland maybe something like ubuntu’s edge desktop but minimal to the core

  4. I’m always shocked when people say Samsung is not likely to fork Android like Amazon did. Despite efforts by Google to tighten some control over android after the Amazon saga, AOSP is still very liable to being forked by Samsung too. Samsung has already replaced most Google’s apps. For the search, Samsung can decide to use Bing or force Google to pay for it being the default (like Apple did to Google). For mail, Samsung already has an ubiquitous mail app on its devices which gives just more than Gmail. For docs, I won’t be surprised to see an S Doc soon, not that it’s a hard thing. For YouTube, well, even MS needs it. For maps, Bing Maps may generate Sammy funds just like the search treatment. Infact, Samsung has its own browser, App Store, music app, games app, calendar app, video app, books app, email app, messaging app, translator app, voice search app, wallet app, cloud print app and even a chromecast replacement.
    The same openness that has helped Google to make Android great, it’s the one working against it.
    The question is why hasn’t Samsung done so. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe MS may beat them to it.

  5. I’m always shocked when people say Samsung is not likely to fork Android like Amazon did.

    You will mostly always be shocked because your romance is mostly not in touch with reality. Samsung and Amazon are not in the same type of business. Amazon already have a booming online business before forking Android and using it on their devices that are designed as channels for their services and suggesting that Samsung should ditch Google and replace Google services with theirs that are yet to catch on simply proves that you are an idealist. Apple did that with Google Maps and it resulted to so much dissatisfaction among their users that they later apologized to them and urged to use alternatives.

    The same openness that has helped Google to make Android great, it’s the one working against it.

    You are still sounding more romantic than practical. Practical people would have said: “The same openness that has helped Google to make Android great could work against them.” There is no apparent problem for Google right now beyond your romance. If Samsung are so good with services, then maybe they would have been able to make their own Bada operating system stand today. Though they have their own services on their devices, have those services supplanted Google services yet or even gained as much popularity on their devices? They may be able to ditch or fork Google’s Android tomorrow but right now, their services are not mature enough to support such feat.

    The question is why hasn’t Samsung done so. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe MS may beat them to it.

    Well, my guess is that there are things they know as business people that you as an innocent enthusiastic romanticist don’t. Business is about ideas, though only workable ideas. They just can’t pursue such a romantic idea simply because it sounds good and ambitious at first. They know their position in the Android ecosystem is not cast on stone and that one wrong step could cause them that position with their fellow Korean company – LG lurking and waiting to take advantage of any slip-up from them.

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