Ballmer says Android "financially unsound"

While Steve Ballmer never associated Android with anything nasty nor did he suggest that killing puppies could look dignified next to building Android, he did say that creating a mobile OS was “financially unsound” for Google and that Google was already far behind the competition.

“They can hire smart guys, hire a lot of people, blah dee blah dee blah, but you know they start out way behind, in a certain sense.”

He also questioned their financial strategy, claiming that Android has no revenue model and that carriers will take android and then charge Google big bucks to carry their search on the standard Android deck or UI.

“Google doesn’t exactly bubble to the top of the list of the top competitors we’ve got going in mobile. They might someday. But right now..” he said at Telstra’s investment day.

Steve, Steve, Steve… Windows Mobile is popular for one simple reason: it seems to work reasonably well with Windows. This is fine for the fleet IT market – there’s no shame in buying up 500 Palm Pros for your entire executive staff – the low-end feature phone market is a mish-mash of OSes, including WinMo and to some extent Symbian. Mostly, however, you find OSes that are unsupported and essentially proprietary.

Android will replace those OSes first. Carriers won’t care – or will care less – when face with the cost savings of installing Android vs. rolling their own OS and the charges for search placement will be a wash. As Android bubbles up, WinMo will get bit first, then Symbian, then, dare I say it, RIM. While I’m not in love with Android, I know a contender when I see one. Hopefully Steve’s posturing will buy WinMo enough time to escape off into the woods to die.