Boston-area wireless startup Skyhook Wireless is suing Google for interfering with its business and for patent infringement, seeking an injunction and “millions of dollars” in damages.
Skyhook sells a mobile location platform to wireless handset makers and app-makers. Customers have included Apple — which recently ditched Skyhook for its own homemade platform — and Motorola and Samsung, which both make phones based on Google’s Android platform.
Google offers a similar service for free, but the theory is that Skyhook is better, which is why companies like Motorola have dumped Google’s free service and paid for Skyhook’s fee-based service instead.
So why the lawsuit?
Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan tells us that Motorola — one of Skyhook’s paying customers — was basically forced by Google to remove Skyhook from its phones to pass Google’s compliance tests.
According to Morgan, Google had tweaked its compliance rules to make it harder for Skyhook to pass, and wasn’t helping Skyhook tweak its software to pass compliance. (One thing we didn’t realise in the first place: Android phones from major manufacturers have to be approved by Google for compliance.)
Morgan says he reached out to Google Android boss Andy Rubin one last time today, but didn’t get anywhere. So Skyhook had no other choice but to sue, he says.
Google had no immediate comment because it had not yet reviewed the complaint.
We’ve embedded the suits below, which were first reported by GigaOM.