Why the Dell/Google phone rumor is false

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -- MarketingWeek reported today that Google and Dell plan to partner on a new cell phone handset. Here's why I don't believe their sources.

MarketingWeek was reportedly informed by "senior industry sources" that Google and Dell would announce at 3GSM World Congress 2008 in Barcelona next month their joint development of a new cell phone. I find this news hard to believe for the following reasons:

1. Google historically doesn't partner with companies on the co-development of hardware, per se.

2. If they did, Dell would be the wrong partner. Their PDAs flopped horribly in the market and they have no experience in the cell phone handset business.

3. Google is positioning itself as a cell phone platform and application vendor, with Android. As part of this positioning, it has aligned itself with the likes of HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and others. Competing with these partners wouldn't make sense for Google, especially since these companies are much more likely to offer successful handsets than Dell.

4. The most likely source of this news is that Dell may join the Open Handset Alliance and use the Android platform on its phones.

Fortunately, we'll learn the truth about this rumor next month.

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