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Facing Threat From Apple, Google Tries New Hardware Playbook

As Google grows concerned that its partner Samsung is losing customers to Apple in mature markets, CEO Sundar Pichai believes Google investing more in its own devices “best positions the company to be protected,” a senior executive said.

Art by Mike Sullivan
Art by Mike Sullivan
Oct. 18, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

It may be Google’s worst nightmare. Apple’s iPhone is stealing share from Samsung phones powered by Google’s Android software. At the same time, U.S. antitrust regulators are scrutinizing Google’s search deal with Apple, raising the prospect that Google’s search may lose its favored position in the Safari browser on iPhones.

These twin developments, which threaten Google’s mobile ads business, have prompted the tech giant to take a big gamble. It is doubling down on investment in its own hardware, including its Pixel phones, including by moving product development and software engineering staff working on features for non-Google hardware to work on Google-branded devices, according to an internal document viewed by The Information.