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Gearing Up For Google


Making a few bucks pressing down the stock of a company like Google may be the ultimate selfish endeavor.

The tech world is buzzing with speculation about the possibility of a joint venture between Google (GOOG) and Dell Computer (DELL) to manufacture a gPhone to compete with Apple's (AAPL) much celebrated iPhone. Yesterday on the Buzz we noted that Marketing Week reports some industry insiders expect an announcement as early as next month at the 3GSM telecom conference in Spain.

Google has continually denied the rumors, stating on the official Google Blog that "[d]espite all of the very interesting speculation over the last few months, we're not announcing a gPhone." What Google is pressing, however, is an open source platform that it hopes will be the leading edge of mobile phone applications.

Partnering with telecom companies such as Motorola (MOT) and Qualcomm (QCOM) to create the Open Handset Alliance, Google is pressing forward with its development of Android, which it calls "the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices."

What is an open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices? Essentially, Android is an open source operating system and user interface that will run on mobile phones. Since its program code is "open," anyone can download the code, work with it and re-upload new and different versions for people to use. This allows developers to easily create innovative products for Android-enabled phones. Currently, most companies only allow in-house developers to work with a system's code, like Microsoft (MSFT) for its Windows Mobile.

While all this may sound exciting, experts and consumers alike are not sold on the idea. Technology news source Giga Omni Media calls the project "one massive PR move," citing its lackluster list of partners – Motorola, Sprint-Nextel (S) and T-Mobile – and the company's lack of a vision generate significant revenue from the project.

But maybe increasing the bottom line is not the goal. This is not the first time Google has spent time and money on a project aimed at benefiting society at large without a clear profit motive. Google's philanthropy campaign forgoes some of the favorable tax advantages of corporate giving in favor of greater flexibility. is a for-profit initiative seeking to invest in startups around the world effecting change in areas like global poverty, disease and climate change.

After the recent post-earnings drubbings of tech leaders like Apple and Amazon (AMZN), short-sellers are likely licking their chops ahead of Google's earnings release after the bell today. However, making a few bucks pressing down the stock of a company like Google may be the ultimate selfish endeavor.
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