Google kept Acer from releasing a phone that uses a rival operating system. Google reportedly advised Acer that the search giant will be forced to terminate its partnership if the phone maker will continue with its plan.
According to Ars, Google defended its position by saying that Acer waived away its rights to make phones with another operating system when it decided to join the Open Handset Alliance, a group of phone makers and Android developers with the objective of creating “greater openness in the mobile ecosystem”. The problem according to Google is that Acer wants to use Alibaba’s Aliyun OS, which has not met the requirements to be able to work properly with Android compatibility program. For Google, this means greater fragmentation of the Android platform. Interestingly, Acer did not sign away all its rights to make rival phones because it sells Windows Phones as well.
Google said: “Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers,
non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices. This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.”
Many analysts are however not swayed by Google’s explanation as “competing ecosystem” means a totally different operating system and hardware like the Windows Phone, but clearly not Aliyun. Fragmentation has taken many forms as there are many different devices running different versions of Android. There are also many different hardware configurations taking advantage of Android. One thing is clear though: companies which lack a partnership with Google are at a complete disadvantage. They don’t often get early access to new updates of the operating system, right to use Google Play app and media store, and they cannot use Google branding. However, there are also some companies that have released and used Android successfully without Google’s blessing like Amazon.
Acer was planning to release an Aliyun phone this week when Google intervened. Acer decided to cancel the launch.
Aliyun is made by Alibaba, China’s version of Google. Alibaba denies its Aliyun software forked Android and incompatible with Android. Alibaba is imitating Google’s business models and is poised to build its own operating system.