This has been a telling week for Google and its dominant Android platform. Google may have won a couple of battles this week, like unloading Motorola's  handset business and signing a patent deal  with Samsung, but it also became clear that Google's Android empire is unraveling.
Let's take a look at some overall Android trends. Strategy Analytics reported  this week that while "there is little doubt that 2013 was the year of Android," growth slowed and will continue to. Android's annual growth rate was 62 percent in 2013, the lowest level in the history of Android, the analysts said. They also said to expect Android's growth to slow even more this year because of market saturation.
Also, just this morning ABI Research reported that forked Android products, meaning those that don't include Google's services, accounted for 25 percent of Android smartphones  shipped in the fourth quarter. For those phones, Google does all the hard work developing a phone OS but gets nothing in return.
The tablet market doesn't have any better news for Google. IDC reported  this week that tablet sales are slowing. Growth of shipments in the last quarter of 2013 was 62.4 percent, which is impressive but down from the 87.1 percent growth rate of the same quarter a year earlier.
That growth rate was dragged down by Apple, whose tablet shipments grew just 13.5 percent year over year. Samsung, on the other hand, saw shipments grow 85.9 percent.
That's not great news for Google. With Samsung's increasingly dominant position  in the Android world, there's little reason for it to bow to Google's wishes.
The week did see a bit of a detente between Samsung and Google. On Sunday, Google and Samsung said they'd signed a ten-year cross licensing deal. Re/Code also reports  that Samsung agreed to put its own UI in the background and do more to highlight Google's apps. It's reasonable to speculate that Samsung got something in return, but it wasn't clear what until yesterday, when Google announced plans to sell the Motorola handset business to Lenovo. As long as Motorola was part of Google, Samsung had good reason to worry that Google would give preferential treatment to its own phone hardware business.
But I predict the peace won't last. What does Samsung gain by playing nice with Google? Give it time and I predict Samsung will come up with new ways to try to generate a more direct revenue stream, rather than splitting the spoils with Google.
Samsung hasn't necessarily had a stellar record with its own services. Even KNOX, its mobile security platform, is off to a slow start . But the potential benefits to Samsung are just too big given its market position. The company will have to continue to try to deliver its own offerings, some of which are likely to conflict with Google's own services.
That means that Samsung will again eventually wander away from Google. At the same time, the percentage of forked Android devices, like Amazon's Kindle is likely to grow.
The result is that despite its best efforts, Google will continue to cede control of Android to others who have figured out a way to piggyback on Android for their own profit.