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