Almost two billion people around the world are using the Android OS and it just keeps growing every day. It has beaten its established rivals such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Nokia’s Symbian, and the Blackberry –the last two now shifted to Android.
However, the company didn’t start winning the lottery. They were struggling and almost went into bankruptcy. Luckily, it only took one moment to save the dying OS – Google came to the rescue. This perhaps is Google’s best acquisition 13 years ago.
How it began
The company started as Android Inc. in 2003.
The company’s co-founder is well-known in the business and also previously worked in MSN and Apple, Andy Rubin. In his time with apple, Andy got the nickname “Android” due to his obsession with robots. Now knowing that this nickname will make him a millionaire years later.
In 1999, Rubin helped establish the company Danger which launched the first smartphone, or proto-smartphone as what they call it back in the day. The phone was called Danger Hiptop which is later rebranded to Sidekick. It was the first sliding smartphone with the QWERTY Keyboard located behind the screen.
Rubin departed Danger in earlier 2003 and established the company Android Inc. later that same year.
Android was made for digital cameras
The initial idea was to create an OS for digital cameras. That’s how they pitched Android to early investors. However, digital cameras during that time are also dwindling because mobile phones are already on the rise. That’s why they decided to create an OS for mobile phones instead.
Selling Android wasn’t a smooth sailing. The company was close to shutting down ending up to Rubin asking his friends to let him borrow personal money to keep the company alive. The most notable borrowed money was when Steve Perlman gave Rubin $10,000 cash. That was the last investment to keep Android running, and just gave the company enough breathing time to pitch their product to Google.
Google bought Android
January 2005, Android finally convinced Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin in their second meeting. Google paid $50 million to acquire Android and that’s the cheapest yet the best acquisition they’ve had. Just over a year later, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. Despite the difference in price, Android proves to be the better and more successful investment.
Google spent the next three years developing an OS for a mobile device. In 2008, T-Mobile G1, also known as HTC Dream, was released and it will be the first public version of Android.
Today, Android is no longer just used in mobile phones. The OS now operates in cars, smart watches, smart appliances, and more!
It is less likely that Google will get a better return on investment like Android. Although the company continues to look for more companies to acquire, nothing can match a $50 million investment that equals to billions of ROI to date and rolling.
If not because of Google and that $10,000 by Perlman, we won’t be enjoying the awesome Android OS today.