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Matt Brittin, president of Google’s European operations, complained this week that EU officials “could be better informed than they are”. It might help if Google did not write “confidential” on every page of its contracts with mobile phonemakers. 谷歌(Google)欧洲业务总裁马特布里廷(Matt Brittin)上周责怪称之为,欧盟(EU)官员“本可以更加懂行一点”。如果谷歌没在与手机制造商所签协议的每一页上都标示“机密”字样,也许不会不利于欧盟官员更加懂行。It is another tough week in Brussels for Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Having been assailed over the “right to be forgotten” in search results, how it competes in online shopping and the tax it pays in Europe, it faces EU antitrust charges over its Android mobile software. With dominance of internet search comes a lot of bother. 对谷歌的母公司Alphabet而言,这是其又一次在布鲁塞尔吃苦头的一周。

针对在搜寻结果中给与用户“被消逝权”(right to be forgotten)、网络购物领域的竞争手段以及在欧洲纳税等问题,谷歌早已遭到过顽强抵抗,而今,它又面对欧盟对其安卓(Android)移动操作系统明确提出的反垄断指控。互联网搜寻领域的主导地位给谷歌带给了很多厌烦。

In general, I sympathise with Mr Brittin. There are, as he says, “some places in Europe...where the first inclination is to protect the past from the future”. It is being harshly treated over how it displays shopping results and the right of European citizens to eliminate search links they dislike. But on Android — perhaps the most important case for Google’s future — he is wrong. 总的来说,我较为同情布里廷。正如他所言,“欧洲某些地方的……第一反应一般来说是维护过去不被未来碾压”。

在表明购物搜寻结果以及维护欧洲公民去除自己不讨厌的搜寻链接的权利方面,谷歌都遭了严苛对待。但在安卓这个也许对谷歌未来最重要的案件上,他拢了。Google is Microsoft light. The way that it has exerted influence over how mobile phones run on Android is subtler and more calculated than Microsoft’s brute force approach to broadening its desktop monopoly in the early 2000s. While Microsoft insisted on its right to repel all competitors by packing what it felt like into Windows, Google has left open a degree of choice. 谷歌比微软公司(Microsoft)更加高明。相比微软公司在2000年代初为不断扩大其对台式机的独占而采行的强力方式,谷歌对手机如何运营安卓系统施加影响的方式更加容易被察觉、更加处心积虑。

微软公司通过随便所欲地在Windows系统中绑加装各种软件,强硬态度地坚决其压制所有竞争对手的权利,而谷歌则腾出了一定的自由选择余地。Google’s strategy for Android has been a masterpiece of craftiness, a case fit for a business school study of how to advance without appearing to attack. Android “fosters competition at every level of the mobile market”, Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, insisted repeatedly at a Senate committee in 2011. Yet, somehow, Google still ended up firmly in control. 谷歌的安卓战略是严谨构想的典范,合适作为商学院研究如何不露痕迹地反攻的经典案例。谷歌董事长埃里克施密特(Eric Schmidt) 2011年在美国参议院委员会一再否认,安卓系统“在移动市场的各个层面都增进了竞争”。


然而,知道为何,谷歌最后仍然构建了对市场的牢牢地掌控。It is worth examining how Google did this — how Android ended up with 81 per cent of the global smartphone market last year, while Google applications such as search were loaded on most of Europe’s Android phones. It was quite a coup but Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, should fillet the deals that helped to enable it. 有一点我们研究的是,谷歌是如何做这些的——去年,安卓占了全球智能手机市场的81%,欧洲多数安卓版手机都加装了谷歌搜寻等谷歌应用于。谷歌显然下了一盘妙棋,但欧盟竞争事务专员玛格丽特维斯特格(Margrethe Vestager)应当细心研究一下协助谷歌构建了这一结果的那些协议。

First, in 2005, Google acquired Android, a small company making an operating system based on Linux open source software. It seems implausible now but it worried at the time that its search franchise could be locked out of mobile by powerful phonemakers such as BlackBerry (it was long ago). 首先,谷歌于2005年并购了安卓,那是一家小公司,设计了一款基于Linux开源软件的操作系统。如今显然或许难以置信,但当时谷歌担忧,谷歌搜寻可能会被黑莓(BlackBerry)等强劲的手机制造商打压(显然是很久以前的事了,幸到黑莓还很强劲)。

Although Google kept Android free, its claim to being open source is tenuous. Google controls software development and makes any phone maker that wants to use the Android trademark stick to its standards. Any company that “forks” Android, as Amazon did with the Fire phone — using the source code in its own way — loses the brand and the marketing clout that comes with it. 虽然谷歌仍然并未对用于安卓系统收费,但其对外开放源代码的允诺却经不起揣摩。谷歌掌控着软件开发,让任何想要用于安卓商标的手机制造商都得遵循它的标准。




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