Google employees are chattering about the huge threat Xiaomi presents to Android
ChinaFotoPress/Getty ImagesChinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, one of the fastest-growing tech startups in the world, could pose a significant threat to Google in the future, according to The Information's Amir Efrati.
Xiaomi's line of Mi phones are insanely popular in China. In fact, the company just surpassed Samsung to become the most popular smartphone manufacturer in China.But it's not just Xiaomi's smartphones that have attracted attention, and that's what worries Google. Several Android employees at Google have told colleagues and others that Xiaomi could "present challenges" by encouraging Android phone owners to use its own apps instead of Google's, according to Efrati.
If Xiaomi does try to popularize its services outside of China, it could spell trouble for Google. The search giant requires companies that make Android phones to feature Google's apps and services (i.e. Google Drive, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.) in prominent areas on the home screen. Google is event starting tighten these restrictions, according to a previous report from Efrati.This is how Google benefits from Android - since Android is open source, companies can modify and build on it for free. Data from Strategy Analytics published by Bloomberg in 2013 show that Samsung actually makes more money from Android than Google does.
But, since Google's apps and services are featured on every Android phone, it keeps users hooked into services like Google Search and Gmail among others.Business Insider The home screen of Xiaomi's Mi4 phone
Xiaomi, which is currently valued at $45 billion, is one of the world's most valuable private technology companies. And it's clear that the competitors have reason to be worried - Samsung, which arguably makes some of the most popular Android phones in the world, saw its profits plummet in 2014. The Galaxy S5, its flagship phone for 2014, didn't sell as well it had hoped, all while Xiaomi has seen explosive growth in China.
Xiaomi also recently announced that it will begin selling some of its products in the United States, although these won't include smartphones.
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