Something’s Going On Amongst Acer, Alibaba, and Google Over Aliyun-OS Phone Launch

Alibaba:

“A Sept. 13  news conference announcing the China launch of a high-end Acer smartphone running a cloud operating system made by Alibaba Group was abruptly canceled after Google, owner of the Android OS, threatened to cancel Acer’s license to use Android for its other phones if the launch went ahead.

A spokesman for Alibaba Cloud Computing, developer of the Aliyun 2.0 cloud OS, called Google’s action "clearly unfair to consumers and we are concerned about the impact on customer access to competitive products."”
see Acer Postpones Aliyun-OS Phone Launch After Pressure from Google.

I am not sure what’s going on. Have rumour and speculation overcome the actors’ good sense? I don’t see why Google would be upset by Acer putting another OS on a smart phone, particularly if it’s not iOS. One smart phone is inconsequential and Google still will get ad revenue from browsers. Everyone should check the licences. Acer doesn’t need Google’s permission to use the Android SDK nor Android/Linux. It’s Free Software except that binary-only is allowed for the non-GPL parts. So, what threat could Google make? They could inform Acer they would prefer an Android smart phone and that’s it. Acer could take or leave such advice.

I will wait and see. I expect to see Acer make their announcement without any hindrance from Google.
UPDATE As I expected, “An unnamed Acer official told Dow Jones that the company will still attempt to launch its non-Android phone. “Acer will continue to communicate with Google and the company still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba software,””

see Ars Technica – Report: Google threatened Acer, forced it to dump rival OS

UPDATE Apparently the issue is “compatibility”. Google objects to Aliyun being able to run some Android apps without being compatible. Aliyun is apparently built on Linux and not in the Android/Linux camp at all so Acer’s agreement to not fork Android/Linux does not apply… Hmmm. Frustrated OEMs are demanding that Google define “Android” to avoid a repeat. They see Google not being reliable in this. Imagine if Ubuntu came out with an ability to run Android apps… Oops, they already have.

UPDATE It looks as if everyone understands the issues now. People are actually talking. I expect this will blow over with a reasonable result.

“if you want to benefit from the Android ecosystem, then make the choice to be compatible. It’s easy, free, and we’ll even help you out. But if you don’t want to be compatible, then don’t expect help from OHA members that are all working to support and build a unified Android ecosystem.”

see Alibaba: Google Just Plain Wrong About Our OS

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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10 Responses to Something’s Going On Amongst Acer, Alibaba, and Google Over Aliyun-OS Phone Launch

  1. oiaohm says:

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/09/google-blocked-acers-rival-phone-to-prevent-android-fragmentation/

    Yep confirmed reason. Anti-fragmentation clause of Android kicked in.

    If acer was doing a tizen or firefox on go or other Linux OS’s on phone everything would have been fine.

  2. iLia wrote, “I wonder how much such threats went unpublished? How much OEM’s were forced by Google to not release non-Android smartphones and tablet with MS OS’s and other mobile OSs?”

    Other OEMs release non-Android smart phones with no problem at all. ie. Phoney “7”.

    So, where is this Google-bullying we read about? Google knows non-Android/Linux phones won’t sell well and is unconcerned about that. All the rest is wild speculation. Remember, these are Chinese business-men who have caution in their blood.

  3. oiaohm says:

    iLia really you cannot have it both ways. You want google to stop fragmentation of Android. You could say that Aliyun OS is fragmentation.

    So in this case you party have to make up your mind if what google did is right or wrong.

    If you want google to block Android fragmentation what google just did is right.

    If you want as many forks as people like then what Google did now is wrong.

    So yes its bad. Its also grey so google gets to skip around breaking their do not be evil operation clause.

  4. oiaohm says:

    iLia Interesting enough Patents no Google cannot use that path even again Acer over Android.

    All related patents over Android are under OIN(Open Invention Network) that Google and Acer are both members. Patent pool protection here. Joining OIN is free other than agreeing not to use your patents abusively.

    –Actually it means that Google is threating Acer to cut off Acer’s revenues from the Google Play store, prohibit to use the “Android” trademark and sue them to death for allegedly violated patents.–

    Aliyun-OS is a binary compatible android clone.

    The patents bit is not valid at all.

    http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1397129

    Pays to read. All the maker loses is Google Play and early access. Everyone is allowed to release Android devices.

    “Android” trademark. Is allowed to be used for items built from direct source code downloaded from android source repository. Adding drivers does not count.

    Also you need to read your links. iLia Amazon’s Kindle Fire is a non approved Google device yet it can still say Android. Yes Amazon they can use the Android trademark with it.

    All Google takes away is Google play and access to development versions of android and google advertising for devices.

    Ok all that is damaging but acer could go on releasing Android devices short all the trimmings.

    Yes I do think Google point of view here is a little over the top. Losing Google advertising is very damaging. Aliyun OS can use the word Android in fact.

    iLia what I expect from people from TM repository cannot do fact checking. Yes what google is doing is bad. But its not as bad as you are making out.

  5. iLia says:

    It seams to me that Google is learning fast from Microsoft: if you have someone who depends on you — abuse him!

    If Microsoft did something like this, our dear mr.Pogson would call it the “bane of humankind”, “unlawful monopoly”, “patent troll”, “enslaver of OEM’s”.

    So, what threat could Google make?

    “Our partner was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partnerAlibaba said

    But Google gives favored device-makers early access to Android, and some Android devices launch with Google branding. Manufacturers must also obtain a license from Google to install the Google Play store

    Actually it means that Google is threating Acer to cut off Acer’s revenues from the Google Play store, prohibit to use the “Android” trademark and sue them to death for allegedly violated patents.

    Google is using it’s dominant market position to suppress competition and save it’s revenues. Just like Microsoft did 10-15 years ago.

    And I wonder how much such threats went unpublished? How much OEM’s were forced by Google to not release non-Android smartphones and tablet with MS OS’s and other mobile OSs?

    It is time to say: Google — don’t be evil!

  6. eug says:

    “Everyone should check the licences. Acer doesn’t need Google’s permission to use the Android SDK nor Android/Linux. It’s Free Software except that binary-only is allowed for the non-GPL parts.”

    http://www.cyanogenmod.com/

  7. Phenom wrote, “Some other OS means no use of their search, no purchases on their marketplace.”

    These are non-issues except in China where Baidu is king. 90% of apps downloaded to smart phones are $0. There should be no particular axe for Google to grind.

  8. Phenom says:

    Of course Google would be upset! Some other OS means no use of their search, no purchases on their marketplace. Google gets money from clicks on ads, not from impressions. A recent report showed that more than 40% of mobile clicks are fraud, and therefore discarded.

    But the great moral is: Android is not as free as you want it to be. And, Google are not the white angel you wish them to be.

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