The release of the iPhone in 2007, and thereafter, the release of the App Store by 2008, set Apple as the dominant player in the smartphone industry.
Concerned about the dominance of the App Store, and therefore of the iPhone, as the primary device for navigating the mobile web, Google, fearing this would soon make its search business commoditized, it used Android as a counterforce against Apple’s potential supremacy in the space.
In fact, back in 2005, a couple of years before the release of the iPhone, Google had bought Android, a “software for mobile phones.”
It was November 2007, and as announced back then:
A broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies today joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and others have collaborated on the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.
While there was no mention of Apple, as you can imagine, that alliance was created to counteract the potential rise of Apple as the dominant player in the smartphone industry.
Android turned out to be the largest mobile platform, comprising many manufacturers across the world.
Today, Android and iOS combined power up the trillion-dollar mobile ecosystem. And the vertical integration Google reached via Android enabled the company to maintain its relevance in the search business.