Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 24, 2009
Apple vs. Google. Apple vs. Microsoft. Apple vs. RIM. Add another company to the list of Apple antagonists: Apple vs. China Mobile. The largest Chinese cellular operator (and the largest in the world), China Mobile held talks with Apple last year to launch the iPhone in China. The talks went nowhere and Apple is now in negotiations with China Unicom, the smaller rival of China Mobile. Meanwhile, China Mobile is out to show that it doesn’t need Steve Jobs to do well with Chinese smartphone users. The state-owned operator is rolling out a series of Android-powered smartphones made by the likes of Lenovo, Dell, Philips and Samsung.
On Monday China Mobile added another ally in its battle against Apple. China Mobile’s chairman, Wang Jianzhou, was in Taiwan at the headquarters of HTC, the Taiwanese company that is the world’s top maker of Windows Mobile-powered smartphones and is also moving aggressively into Android phones. Wang and HTC chairwoman Cher Wang (no relation) announced the two companies would team up to launch an Android phone this year. Adding HTC is a big win for China Mobile. Until now, the Chinese operator’s lineup was a little underwhelming: Lenovo isn’t a world-class name in smartphones, and neither are Dell and Philips. Now, with HTC and Samsung, China Mobile has two of the biggest players. That puts more pressure on China Unicom and Apple to reach a deal and get the iPhone on the market before it’s too late.