InformationWeek is reporting that Motorola is working on its own mobile operating system to either supplement or replace Google’s Android OS.
“Motorola Mobility has hired a number of experienced mobile and Web engineers from Apple and Adobe and is developing a “web-based mobile operating system” as a possible alternative to Android software,” according to a “source familiar with the matter.”
When asked to comment, Motorola didn’t deny the existence of the project but re-affirmed its interest in Android.
“Motorola Mobility is committed to Android as an operating system,” a company spokesperson said via email.
In particular, the site fingered Motorola’s VP of software engineering, Gilles Drieu, as the man likely to be leading work on the company’s secret OS project. Mr Drieu was formerly head of Apple’s rich media and applications group, but left that company in March last year.
The article also throws light on why Motorola would choose to move away from Google’s mobile OS, citing — “Google is shooting itself in the foot,” the source said, apparently referring to concerns about fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google’s support for its partners.
Numerous lawsuits against the platform, including several naming Motorola as a co-defendant, were having a chilling effect, Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg. He also echoed the concerns of InformationWeek’s source about Google’s interactions with OEMs.
Goldberg further confirmed the existence of Motorola’s OS project to the publication, and said the company ”recognizes that they need to differentiate”. ”They need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier,” he said.
Industry analyst Rob Enderle told TG Daily many OEMs were finding Android to be less profitable than expected. ”Android isn’t turning out to be profitable for any company other than Google and even Google’s numbers look less than reliable,” he said.
”In short, many of these companies are saying Android isn’t working for them financially. But Google isn’t listening and this combination has an increasing number of people and companies looking for plan B,” he said.
He also claimed growing unhappiness with Google was a key factor in both the HP-Palm and Microsoft-Nokia partnerships.