(MoneyWatch) Google (GOOG) must be congratulating itself now that Samsung has taken the smartphone lead from Apple (AAPL). According to IDC, the Korean technology titan sold 42.2 million smartphones last quarter, compared to Apple’s 35.1 million. And for Google, that means phones using its Android mobile-computing platform are on top.
Perhaps dampening the joy was news of another Android-based device: Barnes & Noble’s (BKS) Nook digital tablet. That’s because Microsoft (MSFT) has reportedly agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in B&N’s Nook division, valuing the unit at $1.7 billion and spurring talk that the book vendor might spin it out. The move is part of a conveniently synchronous set of strategies at both the software giant and Amazon (AMZM) that splits Google’s efforts.
The result? A greater likelihood that Android — at least as conceived by Google — will never become a major platform in the burgeoning market for tablets.
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