Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Report: Acer Nukes Smartphone Launch Due to Google Threat

By - Source: Reuters | B 33 comments

Google supposedly threatened to cut off Android support to Acer if the handset maker launches a phone with a rival mobile OS.

Taiwan-based Acer was reportedly forced to cancel (or postpone) the launch of its new CloudMobile A800 smartphone on Thursday due to intense pressure from Google Inc.

According to Reuters, the phone was a joint venture between Acer and Alibaba Cloud Computing, deemed as the first to use the latter company's new mobile operating system, Aliyun. Acer and Alibaba originally planned to launch the device in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon, and then go into full retail mode on Friday.

Like clockwork, members of the press showed up for Acer's planned conference to cover the launch. However they were quickly denied access to the venue, and were later told by an Alibaba Cloud Computing official that the launch had been canceled due to "internal reasons."

Eventually the company released an official statement, blaming Google for applying pressure on Acer. "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," Alibaba Cloud Computing said in a statement.

China is reportedly becoming the world's largest smartphone market in 2012, with Google's Android serving as the dominant mobile operating system. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the parent company of Alibaba Cloud Computing and China's biggest Internet company by transactions, is looking to expand its presence in China by working with more handset makers.

So far Google has declined to comment, but Acer said that it will "continue to communicate with Google and the company still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba software," according to an official at Acer who declined to be named.

While Google's stance with Acer may seem a little harsh, there may be an issue with the Aliyun software itself that the search engine giant may need to address before giving Acer the greenlight -- such as possible patent infringements.

Still, this sounds like a Dr. Evil moment, no?

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 33 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    jimmyjohnz , September 14, 2012 7:42 PM
    metallifuxAndroid is open source so i'm thinking this is BS


    I'm pretty sure Google has teams that go and work with other companies to build android for different devices though. It sounds like they're threatening to cut off support to Acer in this way, not deny them access to Android itself.
  • 14 Hide
    boiler1990 , September 14, 2012 7:33 PM
    Isn't this the definition of stifling competition?
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    deadlockedworld , September 14, 2012 7:10 PM
    I'm pretty sure Intel lost some big lawsuits for exactly this.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 7:22 PM
    What an interesting situation. Is Google's threat fair?
  • 14 Hide
    boiler1990 , September 14, 2012 7:33 PM
    Isn't this the definition of stifling competition?
  • 0 Hide
    metallifux , September 14, 2012 7:35 PM
    Android is open source so i'm thinking this is BS
  • 18 Hide
    jimmyjohnz , September 14, 2012 7:42 PM
    metallifuxAndroid is open source so i'm thinking this is BS


    I'm pretty sure Google has teams that go and work with other companies to build android for different devices though. It sounds like they're threatening to cut off support to Acer in this way, not deny them access to Android itself.
  • -4 Hide
    teh_chem , September 14, 2012 8:10 PM
    Pretty mean. The story implies back-door pressure from Google, but I wonder if there is wording in the actual business agreements between Acer and Google that essentially prevents them from making another phone while still collaborating with and making Android devices.

    But let's face it--Acer's hardware sucks. Intervention of Google aside, it probably would have sucked regardless.

  • 5 Hide
    samwelaye , September 14, 2012 8:17 PM
    Alibaba is saying Google told Acer not to do it. Acer has not officially said it and neither has Google, so for all we know there is more behind this.
  • 7 Hide
    internetlad , September 14, 2012 8:20 PM
    I saw the word "Nuke(s)" in the title and immediately knew who wrote this and the quality of the article.
  • -3 Hide
    belardo , September 14, 2012 8:26 PM
    Seems fishy.... Android is open source, Google cannot prevent anyone from releasing an Android phone... and besides, Samsung, LG and HTC make Android and WP7/WP8 phones without problems.

    Look at the low-end junk coming out NEW from China with Android 2.x (some even with 1.6!)
  • 1 Hide
    marcolorenzo , September 14, 2012 8:29 PM
    Reading the comments, it's funny how some people are so quick to dismiss this simply because it was Google that was behind it. I'm sure we'll have a flood of flames if the parties were somewhat different...
  • 3 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 14, 2012 8:40 PM
    metallifuxAndroid is open source so i'm thinking this is BS

    Android may be open source, but being open source doesn't mean you can change its name and sell it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliyun_OS

    "the OS itself is a binary-compatible Android clone. An App Store was launched with the Aliyun OS that contains downloadable Android APK files"

    In a related story, Toms writes never disclose if they own stock in any of the company's they badmouth or praise, or if they were compensated for writing articles. I'm betting disclosure related to that would make articles like this seem purposefully biased instead of blatantly biased..
  • -4 Hide
    A Bad Day , September 14, 2012 9:21 PM
    deadlockedworldI'm pretty sure Intel lost some big lawsuits for exactly this.


    I'm fairly sure AMD lost some big lawsuits for initially copying Intel's designs (1980s-1990s).
  • -4 Hide
    sykozis , September 14, 2012 9:24 PM
    teh_chemPretty mean. The story implies back-door pressure from Google, but I wonder if there is wording in the actual business agreements between Acer and Google that essentially prevents them from making another phone while still collaborating with and making Android devices.But let's face it--Acer's hardware sucks. Intervention of Google aside, it probably would have sucked regardless.

    If there's anything in Acer's contract with Google that prevents them from releasing phones with competing OS's....the contract is legally void anyway as it violates Fair Competition laws.

    dalethepcmanAndroid may be open source, but being open source doesn't mean you can change its name and sell it.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliyun_OS"the OS itself is a binary-compatible Android clone. An App Store was launched with the Aliyun OS that contains downloadable Android APK files"In a related story, Toms writes never disclose if they own stock in any of the company's they badmouth or praise, or if they were compensated for writing articles. I'm betting disclosure related to that would make articles like this seem purposefully biased instead of blatantly biased..

    Being "binary compatible" means it can run apps written for Android. Aliyun is not Dalvik based, whereas Android itself is. So, this isn't a case of Alibaba simply changing the OS name and reselling it. They're using a different kernel and source. OF course, that's assuming that the Wiki article is accurate.
  • 3 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 14, 2012 9:37 PM
    sykozisIf ......Being "binary compatible" means it can run apps written for Android. Aliyun is not Dalvik based, whereas Android itself is. So, this isn't a case of Alibaba simply changing the OS name and reselling it. They're using a different kernel and source. OF course, that's assuming that the Wiki article is accurate.


    And they are packaging their OS with android's App store and other android APK's, which is against Google's TOS. This is why Cyanogen had to remove it from their builds, and the only reason Amazon isn't in hot water for the fire.
  • 2 Hide
    shloader , September 14, 2012 9:45 PM
    A Bad DayI'm fairly sure AMD lost some big lawsuits for initially copying Intel's designs (1980s-1990s).

    AMD and Intel were on rather friendly terms back then. They both brought innovations to the x86 architecture and part of the reason they mutually agreed to cross liscense and keep the CPU models named strictly in numbers. Of course that all changed when Pentium hit the scene.

    As for this Aliyun OS I think Google's fustration with it is reasonable. Even if it isn't a total clone of Andriod, ummm.... close enough. I mean, running android APK files? Still an obvious effort to piggyback on the success of Andriod. If google had any conversation with Acer I'm sure they pointed that out and told them that they can expect an end of technical support of the real Android OS if they go down this path. That's as it should be. Any assistance from Google toward Acer could potentially be spun around to make a better Aliyun phone running Google apps.
  • 4 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 10:10 PM
    A Bad DayI'm fairly sure AMD lost some big lawsuits for initially copying Intel's designs (1980s-1990s).


    Actually, IBM had a company policy where they didn't accept processors for a device from only one company, so if not for AMD, Intel wouldn't have sold their older CPUs to IBM. AMD didn't copy Intel's designs, they were shared designs and AMD didn't get sued for using what Intel and IBM gave them to use and vice versa. Lawsuit issues didn't happen until the early to mid 2000s when Intel literally paid OEMs to ignore AMD, among other anti-competitive tactics, but things were different at that time because AMD was no longer really related to IBM in the 2000s IIRC.
  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , September 14, 2012 10:26 PM
    Why not just launch the smartphones under Alibaba CC name. Acer will just produce the phones, sell them to ACC, and ACC will install their own OS and market the phones? Just like Foxconn manufacturing iPhones for Apple.
  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 10:52 PM
    cookoyWhy not just launch the smartphones under Alibaba CC name. Acer will just produce the phones, sell them to ACC, and ACC will install their own OS and market the phones? Just like Foxconn manufacturing iPhones for Apple.


    That would make sense, so there's no good reason for it to be done (it also wouldn't change the moral impact of using an OS that basically stole code directly from Android).
Display more comments