How Samsung turned down the chance to buy Android, two weeks before Google swooped in

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 17, 2014 09:46 AM EST

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Samsung reportedly had the chance to buy Android back in 2005, but laughed at the proposition and passed on the opportunity.

Today, Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system, and everybody knows that it belongs to Google. Back in its early days, however, things were quite different.

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It wasn't until 2007 that smartphones really kicked off, as that's the year when Apple got the party started with its first iPhone. It's not to say that smartphones weren't around until 2007, but Apple was the one to bank on the concept and drive things into motion.

As it turns out, Samsung could have gotten a significant edge in the smartphone race back in 2005, had it made different choices. In 2005, Android chief Andy Rubin was working on getting the platform off the ground. After a year's worth of work on a version of Android but no big investors to back it up, Rubin decided to pitch his software to a company that would have the necessary resources to take it to the next level.

Google may be the owner of Android now, but it was not Rubin's first choice. According to a book entitled Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution (via PhoneArena), Rubin first went to Samsung to pitch his Android software.

At the time, the Android team was not very big, and all of its eight members flew out to Seoul in Samsung's home country of South Korea to meet up with Samsung and make their pitch. Samsung not only refused the proposition, but it reportedly laughed at the idea.

"'You and what army are going to build and create this? You have six people. Are you high?' is basically what they said. They laughed me out of the boardroom. This happened two weeks before Google acquired us," recollects Rubin.

Things obviously worked out very well for Android in the end, considering its current popularity and wide reach worldwide. Things worked out for Samsung as well, as the company is likely the largest Android device manufacturer. In light of this new information, however, one can't help but wonder how things could have gone if Samsung accepted Rubin's pitch and bought Android back in 2005. 



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