Samsung to axe Magazine UI and roll back custom apps

Galaxy maker brought to heel by Google to bring its vision of Android in line with its own

Samsung has agreed to axe or significantly alter its new Magazine UX, after coming under pressure from Google.

The move comes after both companies began discussions at CES over Google’s despite to “bring Samsung’s view of Android in line” with its own.

Samsung is the world’s largest maker of smartphones. Its success is seen as a major force behind Google’s operating system becoming the dominant mobile platform.

Tensions between the two companies became apparent in March last year. Samsung did not mention Android once during its Unpacked show when it unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Both companies were later forced to make a public statement that there was no animosity between the two companies. However, rumours of distrust between the two companies continued to circulate.

Indeed, Samsung’s partnership with Intel to develop a rival mobile operating system – Tizen – is seen by many as a way of Samsung to break free from Google’s grasp. Others see it as a bargaining chip to move Google towards Samsung’s vision for Android.

Samsung is expected to unveil the first Tizen smartphone at Mobile World Congress later this month.

Power play

As part of the deal, Samsung has also agreed to stop pushing its own apps over Google’s. It will also give Google’s apps for music, movies etc more prominence over every other app on the phone.

News of the agreement was published by Recode. Google did not comment, while Samsung told the site it tries to give its customers as many options as possible and a great experience.

Some commentators have pointed out that Google’s sale of Motorola to Chinese tech firm Lenovo may have been the bargaining chip used to get Samsung to play ball.

Samsung – along with many other Android smartphone makers – were reportedly extremely unhappy when Google bought Motorola. Many reportedly saw it as a challenge to the future security of the operating system.