Google is out of the (consumer) hardware market

There’s plenty of comment around on the implications of Google’s announcement about China. Some of these are pretty big geopolitical issues. (For a route in, you can’t do better than John Naughton’s recent posts on what it reveals about business ethics, censorship, and the Chinese Government.)

There’s also the impact on technology specifically. Much has been made of the possibility that Google taking a stronger moral stand on censorship will reflect well on it outside China.  There’s also been some commentary considering what the likely impact will be on the future of Google’s phone – the Nexus One – in the growing Chinese market, and on Google’s place as a search engine in China (summary: probably pretty bad). As the more informed commentators have noted, the way Google is behaving might be seen as reasonable hardball negotiating tactics in the West, but is far more damaging as an approach to the Chinese Government. I think it’s safe to say that Google will henceforward find it very, very hard to negotiate with them.

However, I’ve not (yet) seen any commentary pointing out what seems to me the obvious impact of that relationship breakdown: the likely end of Google’s future as a hardware manufacturer.

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