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TRUE STORY

Google was seriously afraid Microsoft would dominate the smartphone market

Microsoft vice president for Surface Computing Panos Panay shows a new Lumia 950 phone during a presentation, in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The device will work with an optional dock. Users can attach a regular monitor, keyboard and mouse and work with apps on the phone just like you would on a Windows 10 desktop. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
How threatening.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

Today, Google owns the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, but there was a time when it was seriously concerned Microsoft would dominate the market.

That might seem laughable today, given Microsoft’s 1% market share compared with Google’s 80%, according to data from Gartner. But before Android’s launch in 2008, its cofounder Rich Miner, now a general partner at Google Ventures, wrote an internal email describing the need for an open-source mobile operating system. The email emerged today (May 12) at the Google-Oracle trial in federal court in San Francisco where the two companies are arguing over whether Google created Android using Java APIs without the proper licensing. Java was a technology of Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2009.

“If an open platform is not introduced in the next few years then Microsoft will own the programmable handset platform,” wrote Miner. “Palm is dying, RIM [Blackberry] is a one-trick pony, and while Symbian [a closed operating system] is growing market share it’s becoming a Nokia only solution.”

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