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Google Reportedly Threatens Acer’s Android License

Although Android is free, a device maker must meet certain Google requirements to use services like Google search or maps

Acer on Thursday was supposed to announce a smartphone for China that runs on an operating system called Aliyun developed by Alibaba, the big Chinese e-commerce outfit.

The press were reportedly milling outside the door waiting for the Shanghai press conference hosted by both companies to start when they were suddenly told to go home. The Acer CloudMobile A800 launch had been canceled.

Google had reportedly threatened to pull Acer's Android license if the rival launch went ahead.

According to Reuters the Alibaba Cloud Computing unit that developed Aliyun put out a statement saying, "Our partner received notification from Google that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer."

Although Android is free, a device maker must meet certain Google requirements to use services like Google search or maps.

An unidentified Acer official later suggested to the Wall Street Journal that Google was concerned about Acer's user of Aliyun but declined to talk about any specifics. He reportedly said, "Acer will continue to communicate with Google and the company still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba's software."

Google's local spokesman reportedly declined to comment.

Florian Mueller, who writes the FOSS Patents blog that follows all the litigation Android has generated, said that "If it's true that Google threatened to cancel Acer's Android license over a non-Android device, this is a major-league antitrust violation."

Acer has been under terrible market pressure with its PCs for months and China this year should become the world's largest smartphone market with Android in the vanguard. Apparently Google's brooking no interference.

Acer only has a small slice of the smartphone market and most of its models run on Android. It may be concerned about competition from the now Google-owned Motorola Mobility not mention the drubbing Samsung took at the hands of a California court.

Acer was supposed to release other Aliyun models later this year and next year.

The Journal says Aliyun phones, which come with cloud-based apps and Alibaba's own maps and e-mail, have been gaining traction in China and will soon get more distribution.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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