Android Headliner: Who Is To Blame For The Lack Of Nexus 6 Stock?


When the Google Nexus 6 went on pre-order sale via the Play Store, the device sold out immediately. I was one of those watching and waiting and I can 100% tell you there was no point (for me) when the device was in stock. It was simply 'coming soon', refresh, 'coming soon', refresh, 'coming soon', refresh, 'out of stock'. Of course, it was pretty much expected that the Nexus 6 would go out of stock, but was it ever actually in stock? Since then we have heard various rumors as to what happened. The most common is that the carriers bought them all leaving Google with only a limited number of devices which they have sporadically let go in their weekly Wednesday sales. All fingers will immediately point to Google. Why did they let the carriers buy them all? Why did they not make sure there was enough stock to go around? After all, it is their device right? Well, no. It's not really. Google doesn't make the Nexus 6. Nor do they make any of the Nexus products. We call it the 'Google Nexus 6' but in reality, it is the 'Nexus 6 by Motorola'. So should Motorola take the blame? Well, maybe.

If Motorola manufactured the Nexus 6 then why didn't they make sure there was enough stock? One of the the reasons could be simply that they did not have the manufacturing capability. As well as building the Nexus 6. Motorola also has the second generation Moto G and Moto X in production. Not to mention, the Droid Turbo, the Moto Maxx and the Moto E. That's a lot of devices not including the Nexus. But if that's the case, then why did Google appoint them in the first place? Another reason could be Motorola did not want to manufacture so many. Lower availability might sway those who can't get one towards one of Motorola's other devices. But if this was Motorola's intention, then why did Google not see this coming? Google's fault..maybe. Motorola's fault…maybe. But hold on. Didn't we recently here that Lenovo has purchased Motorola? Yes, we did. It's obvious purchasing Motorola is not like purchasing a bag of chips. You can't walk down to your local CVS and simply pick up a Motorola. No, this sale has been in the works for some time. Were Lenovo simply happy to let Google and Motorola carry on with Nexus development while completing the sale? Lenovo must have their own plans for Motorola. So did Lenovo veto how much time, effort or manufacturing could be invested by Motorola? Was that part of the sale agreement? Maybe…


Of course, the third reason which is the supposedly 'official' reason is that the carriers have bought them all. This one is much easier to deal with as the 'carriers' are a collective entity. With the 'carriers' blamed, none of the carriers in particular can hold responsibility. Carriers can blame each other and the blame game goes round and round. However, the 'carrier reason' does come with a unique aspect. Maybe the carriers are to blame, but not because they bought them all. Maybe, the reason is far more rudimentary. If Google and Motorola sell as many unlocked devices as they want, then what's in it for the carriers? Why would they buy any at all? Instead, by reserving unlocked devices, carriers have a greater opportunity to shift their contract-models. Contracts are where the money is for the carriers, right? Most are charging $200 up front and then two years worth or recurring payments. That's a much tidier sum for the carriers. So maybe the carriers are to blame for the lack of stock but for political and not stock reasons.

So, are we now any clearer to understanding who is to blame? No, unfortunately not. Is it Google's fault? Motorola's? Lenovo's? Or even the collective 'carrier' entity? Maybe this was the masterplan all along. All of the just mentioned benefit while no-one takes the blame. Google gets its Nexus. Motorola gets the praise for building it. Lenovo gets to own the company that built the Nexus (without too much pressure to manufacture in high numbers). Not to mention the carriers get to benefit from free-reign on a device that everyone wants and must sign-up to a contract for. On a last thought, maybe there is someone else left to blame. Maybe the fault for the lack of Nexus 6 devices is ours, the collective entity known as the 'customer'. We bought into the buzz and the hype. We placed a demand so high that those involved could all benefit from the situation. If no-one hit up the Play Store or Motorola tomorrow, or headed to the carriers or Best Buy, then suddenly there would be stock and I'm guessing probably quite a lot to be honest. So Who do you think is to blame? Should the buck stop with Google? Does Motorola have to take responsibility since they built the device? Do you think Lenovo had something to do with it? Is it really the carriers fault for buying them all? Or is our fault for generating so much interest in a device that caused the issue? Let us know who you think should take the blame and why?

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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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