Google's strict policies for 'open' Android OS revealed in newly public documents

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  • Reply 61 of 206
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Yes but a manufacturer isn't obligated to use Google Services. In order to use youtube or Google search on a Kindle, one has to use the web app, and get apps from the Amazon app store. Any manufacturer can take Android and cut Google out of it completely.

    You are absolutely correct but if Samsung decided to fork Android like Amazon then they would no longer be permitted to sell "Android" phones. That is a huge incentive not to fork it. I don't blame Google for that tactic since they created Android and have spent probably billions developing and supporting their ecosystem and then give it away for free. As the old adage says nothing in life is truly free though. I think Samsung used to have some leverage with Tizen but not so much anymore. If they offered an S5 running Android or the same hardware running Tizen I think the Android version would trounce the Tizen version in sales. If they decided to fork Android completely a la Amazon then people would likely start to migrate to LG, HTC, Sony, Lenovo and others that would love to fill the gap left by Samsung exiting the Android market. Samsung isn't going anywhere and Google knows it.

     

    People can despise Google all they want but they were actually very clever to give their OS away for free with conditions as opposed to what Microsoft did and sold a license but allowed manufacturers to produce phones with any OS they wanted.By requiring a license that opened the door for Android. People forget just how dominate Windows Mobile was at one time granted the percentage of smartphones was also far smaller. Had Microsoft reacted far sooner and released Windows Phone about 2 years sooner with the same licensing deal as Google Android would be a footnote. Now look at Microsoft contemplating building a forked Android phone with Nokia just to try and stay relevant. 

  • Reply 62 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    gwmac wrote: »
    People can despise Google all they want but they were actually very clever to give their OS away for free with conditions as opposed to what Microsoft did and sold a license but allowed manufacturers to produce phones with any OS they wanted.

    Google doesn't say if you produce Google Android phones a manufacturer can't also produce WinMo phones or Tizen phones or any other phones for that matter. What they do expect is if you license Google Android phones you can't also produce your own forked Android phones alongside them. Ya gotta choose to go one way or the other, but either way they can still build on Android.
  • Reply 63 of 206
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,471member
    philboogie wrote: »
    That's different. IE came from a dumb company, Android comes from a stupid company¡

    Both dependent on Apple for R&D and IP for their successes!
  • Reply 64 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    Android is open. Just ask Acer when they tried to make a device to run Aliyun (a forked version of Android). Google shut them down pronto.

    No they didn't Eric. They reportedly told Acer to choose whether to use the Open Handset Alliance's Google Android that they asked to be a part of or go with the Android-based and Chinese developed Aliyun. They couldn't do both and remain within the terms of their OHA contract. It was Acer's choice. Google never threatened any legal action to prevent them from using Aliyun.
  • Reply 65 of 206
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,471member
    The linked source is pretty readable. It seems that either you use all of Google's services or you don't. If you don't, you do the Amazon path of using AOSP and putting your own services on top.

    I think the people saying it's not "open" don't really understand which part is supposed to be open and which isn't.

    Gatorguy always posts an erudite and interestingly different take on all matters Google. I enjoy seeing his well written counter arguments to DED's obvious and enjoyably passionate pro Apple views (and in this case I realize it is not a DED .. is it?).
  • Reply 66 of 206
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Google doesn't say if you produce Google Android phones a manufacturer can't also produce WinMo phones or Tizen phones or any other phones for that matter. What they do expect is if you license Google Android phones you can't also produce your own forked Android phones alongside them. Ya gotta choose to go one way or the other, but either way they can still build on Android.

     

    I thought that is what I said. I understand that point and Samsung are allowed to make Windows phones or Tizen phones as long as they are not Android forks. I was complementing Google on that strategy. People here hate Google which is understandable since they are Apple's biggest competitor. Amazon's experiment has not been hugely successful when you consider many of the top apps like Clash of Clans are still not available on Amazon. Or many others get updates far later than the Google Play store. I also heard sales of their Fire devices are starting to decline. What would be an interesting development is it Microsoft and Nokia partnered with Amazon and made some smartphones to complement just their tablets and shared compatibility on their two stores for apps.  Or perhaps HTC might make a good partner since they are not doing so hot at competing with Samsung or Apple and make smartphones for Amazon as a last ditch effort to survive. I am not saying this is a good idea and likely would happen out of desperation but it is possible. 

  • Reply 67 of 206
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    No they didn't Eric. They reportedly told Acer to choose whether to use the Open Handset Alliance's Google Android that they asked to be a part of or go with the Android-based and Chinese developed Aliyun. They couldn't do both and remain within the terms of their OHA contract. It was Acer's choice. Google never threatened any legal action to prevent them from using Aliyun.

     

    there is no real difference between this and EricTheHalfBee saying "Google shut them down pronto." anytime one party "tells" another "to choose" in order to "remain with in the terms" of a "contract," that is of course ipso facto an implicit "threat" of "legal action." that is routinely how contracts are enforced. the only alternative way is to suspend actual services or payments provided by the aggrieved party to the other under the contract, but those are N/A in this case.

  • Reply 68 of 206
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    No they didn't Eric. They reportedly told Acer to choose whether to use the Open Handset Alliance's Google Android that they asked to be a part of or go with the Android-based and Chinese developed Aliyun. They couldn't do both and remain within the terms of their OHA contract. It was Acer's choice. Google never threatened any legal action to prevent them from using Aliyun.

     

    I never stated they threatened legal action. Stop putting words in my mouth (yet again, so typical of you). I said Google shut them down pronto, which is correct since Acer was all set to announce the phone and they literally canned it at the last minute AFTER Google "reminded" them of the implications of releasing an Aliyun phone (being removed from the OHA).

     

    There's no way you can spin this to make Google look good. Google rules Android with an iron fist. Manufacturers have strict rules to follow if they want to release an Android device as part of the OHA, which is completely against the concept of "being open". While this news may have just broke today, anyone who's ever coded for Android (like myself) knew about most of these conditions for some time.

     

    And I see you want to avoid (yet again) the comment I made about Android moving all new API's and features into Google Play Services, thereby moving Android into the closed-source realm. Soon there will be no need for the OHA and all these "rules" as Google will have absolute control over Android since they control Google Play Services.

  • Reply 69 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member

    There's no way you can spin this to make Google look good. Google rules Android with an iron fist.

    Typical. It looks to me like you're trying your best to put an evil spin on it simply because Google is involved. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. If they weren't filing legal action they how did Google shut them down? Seems to me it was Acer that shut it down as a smart business decision. Further if "Google rules Android with an iron fist" how do you explain Aliyun. Or Amazon's tablet OS. Or the latest phone OS from Nokia.

    Yes, Google is getting a bit smarter about their business, pulling the parts they've invested a lot of time and money in into Google Android rather than contributing those new additional bits to open-source. That doesn't make the Android OS any less open does it? Those that want to use Android for their OS without contributing just don't get the added benefit of free Google services engineering but otherwise are welcome to use it without restrictions just as Nokia has discovered.
  • Reply 70 of 206
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,800member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

     

    I never stated they threatened legal action. Stop putting words in my mouth (yet again, so typical of you). I said Google shut them down pronto, which is correct since Acer was all set to announce the phone and they literally canned it at the last minute AFTER Google "reminded" them of the implications of releasing an Aliyun phone (being removed from the OHA).

     

    There's no way you can spin this to make Google look good. Google rules Android with an iron fist. Manufacturers have strict rules to follow if they want to release an Android device as part of the OHA, which is completely against the concept of "being open". While this news may have just broke today, anyone who's ever coded for Android (like myself) knew about most of these conditions for some time.

     

    And I see you want to avoid (yet again) the comment I made about Android moving all new API's and features into Google Play Services, thereby moving Android into the closed-source realm. Soon there will be no need for the OHA and all these "rules" as Google will have absolute control over Android since they control Google Play Services.


     

    First of all let me say that I agree with your assessment that Android is not quite as "open" as they once pretended and I understand how they are deliberately using Google play services to lock down Android tighter. Acer however should have been aware of the contract they signed so I am not sure you can blame Google for Acer being ignorant of their contract. I also think that Google is simply doing what they had to do to protect their company and Android. Amazon's forked version was a huge wake up call for them. After they had invested billions to develop Android the last thing they wanted was for companies to use that as a foundation or weapon to remove Google services and any revenue. But at the same time they can no longer try and pretend they are the bastion of open source anymore either. They are finally starting to see that Apple was correct to have rules and regulations in place and are becoming much more closed source and eventually they will likely try to make the open sourced version so limited that it is no longer useful. I cannot blame them for this strategy though since it is the best course of action for the company and shareholders. 

  • Reply 71 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    alfiejr wrote: »
    the only alternative way is to suspend actual services or payments provided by the aggrieved party to the other under the contract, but those are N/A in this case.

    Why N/A? Google licenses their services in a contract that's intended to benefit both parties. If Acer is violating the terms of the contract Google suspends the services. Seems simple enough and doesn't require a courtroom.
  • Reply 72 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    davidw wrote: »
    The whole point is that once you license any of Google services, Android is no longer open or become less open. And the more services you license the less and less open Android gets. And once it's less open, it's not really open at all. For instance, when Samsung license Google Maps, they must put Google map as the default rather than any other map service. Even if they were to start their own map service. The same with Google app or Google Search. Each Google licensed services seems to put restrictions on what the phone manufacturer can do with Android. Technically, Android is only open if you don't license anything from Google. 

    Yup, I think you got a pretty good understanding of it.

    You want to use services or product that you believe to be valuable and the company that owns them wants a give-and-take then you reach agreement and license them. If they're not all that valuable to you then you don't. Nothing wrong with that is there?
  • Reply 73 of 206
    Google will have absolute control over Android since they control Google Play Services.

    No they don't have 'absolute' control. Amazon was able to do to fork it, and now there are manufacturers that will be installing Cyanogenmod (a custom ROM) on their devices as the stock OS. LG could very easily leave the OHA and fork Android to their liking.
  • Reply 74 of 206
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    Oooohhh. . . this is interesting.

    According to the contract manufacturers are supposed to report the number of Google Android handsets they produce each month. At least that's what the old contracts stipulated and I can't imagine why they would have changed it. That puts Google in the unique position of having reliable shipping numbers for all licensees, tho it's actual end-user numbers they report to the media every so often.
  • Reply 75 of 206
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post



    Technically speaking, Google was not a party to the trial and, thus, whether or not Android itself infringed directly was not at issue.



    Samsung's modifications to Android were was clearly at issue.



    The issue of whether or not other Android users infringed is up to discussions between the other manufacturers and Apple. HTC, I believe, has already worked a licensing deal with Apple that covers patents by both parties.



    And, since Google derives no economic gain from a sale of Android (hence the reason they license other google products and services the way they do) it will be virtually impossible for anyone to effectively challenge a patent infringement case against them.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

     

     

    Technically speaking, the patents in the trial were not part of AOSP, they were developed by Samsung.

     




    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post





    Basically, yes. I am. Google doesn't see Android. They derive no direct income from the sale of Google. There is no income from which to pay damages if Google were to lose a lawsuit for patent infringement.


     


    Let me address the points above within the context of my original commentary which can be summarized as follows:


     


    "Stop the infringement (which Apple is trying through the courts) and Android degrades and in turn, Google's power over the manufacturers will also degrade. "


     


    It is true that Google does not derive any direct revenues from AOSP+Google Play+ Google software operating system (hereby called the "Google Android system" or "Google Android software") because the software is given away at no cost to anyone but that is besides the point.  The point is that Google derives control over the Google Android system through the free but highly restrictive license over the Google Android software.  As mentioned in the article and other documents, manufacturers have to adhere to Google's terms if they want to release handsets as part of the OHA and that runs on the Google Android system.


     


    If you were a manufacturer of handsets, you would wonder WHY you would even think of agreeing to the Google terms.  Why not just use AOSP alone and not have to worry about Google's terms?  Because AOSP by itself is a far inferior product compared to the Google Android system.  And why is the Google Android system so much better?  Key answer:  because it includes the add-on Google software layer (Google Play, etc) which infringes on key Apple patents.


     


    So precisely because the Google Android system is so much better than AOSP, manufacturers are more than happy to subject themselves to the Google terms in order to sell handsets running on the Google Android system.


     


    But here's the interesting part:  Apple is suing the prominent Android manufacturers (Samsung, Motorola, et al) for infringement of Apple patents by the Google Android system running on their products.  And Samsung has already lost one trial and is on the losing track in the second trial and that is making Samsung re-think the cost/benefits analysis of the Google Android system.


     


    That's where Google's control over the Android ecosystem starts to weaken.  As more manufacturers face the prospect of patent infringement lawsuits tied to products running on the Google Android system, they will start thinking about whether the highly restrictive license terms are really worth the legal risk of patent infringement.  They may ultimately decide that moving to alternatives (eg. Tizen) or the basic AOSP by itself may be better than the patent-infringing Google Android system and that's when Google will start losing control over the manufacturers.  


     


    So the key takeaway is this:  manufacturers are OK being under Google's thumb because the Google Android system is superior to any alternatives (including the basic AOSP) and the Google Android system is superior in part because it infringes on key Apple technologies.  Apple is attempting to offset this superiority by attaching real legal risk to the Google Android system implementation.  When the pendulum swings the other way, towards legal risk, you will see more prominent manufacturers abandoning the Google Android system for alternatives, pushing back against the restrictive licensing terms, and/or making modifications to the Google Android software (if allowed under licensing terms) that degrades the user experience.  HTC is an interesting case study here.  What compromises did they make in the Google Android system as required by the "anti-cloning" provisions of the settlement they reached with Apple?  It must be really onerous if Samsung has refused repeatedly to agree to similar "anti-cloning" provisions in the settlement talks with Apple that has occurred over the past year, despite losing big in the first trial and facing the prospect of another big loss in the second trial.  

  • Reply 76 of 206
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kharvel View Post

     


      Key answer:  because it includes the add-on Google software layer (Google Play, etc) which infringes on key Apple patents.

     

    And exactly what key patents infringes GMS?

  • Reply 77 of 206
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

     

    You are absolutely correct but if Samsung decided to fork Android like Amazon then they would no longer be permitted to sell "Android" phones. That is a huge incentive not to fork it. 


     

    This incentive is being reduced substantially by the real legal risk that Apple has attached to handsets implementing the Google Android software.  If Samsung loses the second infringement trial,  that may be the tipping point where Samsung decides that forking Android is better than selling Google Android phones.  

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

     I think Samsung used to have some leverage with Tizen but not so much anymore. If they offered an S5 running Android or the same hardware running Tizen I think the Android version would trounce the Tizen version in sales. If they decided to fork Android completely a la Amazon then people would likely start to migrate to LG, HTC, Sony, Lenovo and others that would love to fill the gap left by Samsung exiting the Android market. Samsung isn't going anywhere and Google knows it.

     


     

    If Apple is successful in its patent infringement lawsuits, it may be able to get the courts or the ITC to ban the import/sale of Samsung products running on Google Android software.  In that case, Samsung will have no choice but to sell Samsung hardware running on Tizen or an Android fork.  You see, Apple is about to force Samsung to go somewhere else and Google knows that, too.  

     

    As for people migrating to other manufacturers, don't think for a second that these manufacturers will not face patent infringement lawsuits from Apple and they are going to consider this legal risk as they decide whether to accept Google's terms to use the Google Android software or fork Android.  

  • Reply 78 of 206
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,918member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Google doesn't say if you produce Google Android phones a manufacturer can't also produce WinMo phones or Tizen phones or any other phones for that matter. What they do expect is if you license Google Android phones you can't also produce your own forked Android phones alongside them. Ya gotta choose to go one way or the other, but either way they can still build on Android.

    So Googs def of openness involves restrictions. Nice.
  • Reply 79 of 206
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

     

     

    And exactly what key patents infringes GMS?


     

    Here is one example:

    http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/01/us-court-finds-samsung-to-infringe-one.html

     

    The Auto-correct feature is found in the GMS but not in the AOSP.  (http://www.fonearena.com/blog/88107/google-places-api-brings-out-autocomplete-for-better-predictions.html)

  • Reply 80 of 206
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kharvel View Post

     

     

    Here is one example:

    http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/01/us-court-finds-samsung-to-infringe-one.html

     

    The Auto-correct feature is found in the GMS but not in the AOSP.  (http://www.fonearena.com/blog/88107/google-places-api-brings-out-autocomplete-for-better-predictions.html)


     

     

    So, you have only found just one claim of one patent and the trial has not even started?

     

     

     

    You must be joking.

     

    Yap, Android will vanish if that claim is found infringed in the trial, all of the relevance of Android depends on that

     

    And, by the way AOSP keyboard has autocorrection and Samsung doesn't use Google keyboard, uses its own

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