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Google Signals Apple-like Direction for Nexus Phones

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his lieutenants have signaled to colleagues and outsiders that the company wants to take greater control over its program for making “Nexus” smartphones, which are powered by Google’s Android software. The change would effectively reduce the level of involvement of hardware partners that make the phones with Google, a group which has included Samsung, Motorola, LG and Huawei.

The move would be the latest step by Google to make Nexus phones more like the iPhone, which is controlled by Apple top to bottom, and strengthen Android’s brand overall in order to capture more share at the high end of the market that Apple dominates. Google doesn’t want its revenue-generating services for high-end smartphones to be at the mercy of Apple like they are now.

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Several of the phone brands might not participate in the program rather than capitulate to Google in such a way. One company that has been in talks with Google for a Nexus phone this year is HTC.