When dealing with mobile operating systems we generally refer to Android as an open system which generally does not have any licensing restrictions and is free to use. Recent documents that have surfaced however show that this isn’t the case as there are strings attached in using this operating system.
The leaked documents show that Google has imposed strict restrictions on device manufacturers that Google Apps must be featured and that Google Search must be the default search engine. In the licensing agreement that is known as “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” (MADA) manufacturers who would want a Google Play license must meet certain requirements.
Device manufacturers will have to include “Set-up Wizard, Google Phone-top Search, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, YouTube, Google Maps for Mobile, Google Street View, Contact Sync, Android Market Client, Google Voice Search, and Network Location Provider” as pre-loaded apps on Android devices.
Aside from this, another requirement is that “Google Phone-top Search and the Android Market Client icon must be placed at least on the panel immediately adjacent to the Default Home Screen.”
“All other Google Applications will be placed no more than one level below the Phone Top.”
European antitrust authorities are now looking on these restrictions to see if Google is abusing its hold on Android. In Europe, companies that have a dominant market share are required to promote competition which isn’t the case in the United States.
While device manufacturers can opt to not include Google Play on their devices it won’t have access to the Play Store which hosts hundreds of thousands of apps.
Amazon for instance is using the Android operating system yet it has elected not to have any Google apps by default. This means it does not have access to Google Play but it has an alternative in the form of its own App Store.
As far as I am concerned I see no problem in Google’s apps that come pre-installed in Android devices. Google Play is the best place to get apps, Google Maps is one of the best maps available on a mobile device, and you can’t beat Google Search.