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They would have just forked android.

Which would have been like Amazon's fork but crappier. And with a worse app store than Amazon.

This. I don't think anything Samsung has put out, with due deference to Samsung developers' work, has convinced me that Samsung management is capable of stewarding an Android fork sustainably with Google-equivalent resources. Much less with the fewer resources they'd have to spend on it.

My point wasn't that Samsung-Android would be Google equivalent but that AOSP was far ahead of Tizen and Windows Phone.

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