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Google chief: Nexus One was 'so successful, we killed it'

What a load of Schmidt

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Google CEO Eric Schmidt has convinced himself that the company killed its sold-direct-to-netizen Nexus One phone after less than six months because it was "so successful."

"The idea a year and a half ago was to do the Nexus One to try to move the phone platform hardware business forward. It clearly did," Schmidt told The Telegraph, demonstrating just how far removed from reality his mind has become.

"It was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one. We would view that as positive but people criticised us heavily for that. I called up the board and said: 'Ok, it worked. Congratulations - we're stopping'. We like that flexibility, we think that flexibility is characteristic of nimbleness at our scale."

His words are even further removed than an earlier explanation from Android project lead Andy Rubin, who said the company killed its Googlephone webstore because running the thing was just too complicated. "Fundamentally, we do a direct-to-consumer distribution business where you're hooking into these various provisioning systems for all these operators all over the world," he told reporters at Google's developer conference in late May.

"It's a pretty intense undertaking just, literally, hooking into the billing systems that are available in all these operators in all these countries, and what we decided to do was to focus our resources on the platforms and the apps to make the platform shine rather than hooking into provisioning systems and billing systems."

"[The Nexus One] was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one. We would view that as positive but people criticised us heavily for that. I called up the board and said: 'Ok, it worked. Congratulations — we're stopping.'"

— the word from Eric Schmidt's world

But at least Rubin admitted that the store failed to "fundamentally change the way phones are sold," as Google said it would. "From a technology perspective, I think the Nexus One was the showcase superphone at the time, and that set the bar," he said. "To be revolutionary in the way people buy phones? That didn't happen."

Yes, he's still clinging to that "superphone" moniker. At launch, Google said that the Nexus One belonged to a new super class of handset — even though it couldn't match the Motorola Droid (according to none other than Google open source guru Chris DiBona) — let alone the iPhone.

At launch, Andy Rubin also said he would be pleased if Google sold 150,000 Nexus One phones, and the company has apparently sold a little more than 500,000.

If anything, the Nexus One showed that not even Google has the power to compete with its own carrier partners. When the device launched, word was that existing Droid partners Motorola and Verizon were, shall we say, rather peeved. And it's clear that Google killed the Nexus One for fear of damaging the rest of the Android market.

In Eric Schmidt–speak, that's what you call success. ®

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