The latest proof that Google’s Android “openness” is a crock: Unsealed court documents exposing how Google pressures its partners into doing what it wants, even at the expense of contractual relationships with other companies.Specifically, a bunch of documents in Skyhook Wireless’s suit against Google have been unsealed, and former Engadget editor (and lawyer) Nilay Patel has gone through them, pulling out the juiciest details in a lengthy post.
Among them: An email where Google admits that it’s “obvious to the OEMs that we are using compatibility as a club to make them do what we want” and one where Motorola complains to Google that “it’s unacceptable to be put in a position which limits our ability to compete.” There’s also the tale of how Google shut down the Motorola Droid X launch and a Samsung device launch.
Now, let’s be clear: Google seems to be making the right moves with Android — the moves that are right for Google, at least.
There’s also some sound business logic behind some of Google’s moves, including the fact that it doesn’t want to pollute its location database with bad data, that it wants its location service to be distributed as broadly as possible, and that it’s trying to limit Android fragmentation.
But any claims that Android is still “open” for handset companies to use how they want are now just silly. And that’s part of the point of all of this.
(Also, apparently Google execs didn’t know that Motorola was picking Skyhook over Google’s own location tool until they read it on Business Insider.)
If you’ve been following Skyhook’s suit against Google — Skyhook alleges that Google is basically preventing it from doing business with Android phone makers like Motorola — or have any interest in seeing how Google operates, it’s a good read.
Related: Sorry Google, But “Open” Is A Crock
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