Going Out Of Business: Google’s Nexus One Store
So much for Google’s Web-only smartphone sales model.
This morning, the company announced plans to stop selling its Nexus One Android phone through its Web store, acknowledging that efforts to change the way consumers purchase phones haven’t quite played out the way it had hoped.
“While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not,” Google’s Android chief, Andy Rubin, wrote in a post to the company blog. “It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.”
And so Google (GOOG) is redoubling its efforts to sell the Nexus one through existing retail channels, just like everyone else. And once it has pushed availability to a certain point, its Nexus One Web store will become a “store window” for showcasing a variety of devices running its Android OS.
Did those moves have something to do with Google’s decision? Clearly, although there were certainly other factors at work. The phone’s dueling early-termination fee and half-assed customer-service solution certainly played a role. And then there were the mediocre sales.
The only way Google was ever going to succeed in upending the consumer-carrier relationship was with a deluge of consumer demand. And that never really happened.
So was Google’s strategy for the Nexus One doomed from the beginning? Probably. Customer behavior is a tough enough thing to change. Disincentives like Google’s questionable customer support and a pair of early termination fees on a device Google was asking us to buy without even touching it certainly didn’t help.