How Google controls Android: digging deep into the Skyhook filings

“You might remember that a company called Skyhook Wireless sued Google back in September for business interference and patent infringement — the Skyhook XPS WiFi and cell tower positioning system was all set to ship in the Droid X before Google got involved and Motorola dropped it from the phone,” Nilay Patel reports for This is my next.

“The case is still ongoing, but it just passed a major milestone last week when Google’s initial motions to dismiss and for summary judgment were denied — and lucky for us, a huge trove of documentation was unsealed by the court,” Patel reports. “The sheer amount of information is enormous — over 750 pages across 88 documents — and it offers a look into the nitty-gritty of Google’s Android device approval process, including emails between Andy Rubin and Moto CEO Sanjay Jha.”

Patel reports, “Perhaps surprisingly, it’s relatively clear from the evidence that Google is the major gatekeeper between OEMs and the market — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Google plays a major role in Android device development, to the point where Andy Rubin himself approves and denies requests from OEMs. It’s also clear that Google places tremendous value on collecting location data, and it acted swiftly when it determined Skyhook’s deal with Motorola might threaten its ability to collect that data. Hell, one of the headings in Google’s summary judgment brief is ‘Skyhook was not entitled to deprive Google of its contractual right to collect location data on Motorola Android devices.’ Can’t say it much plainer than that, really. And Google’s doesn’t hesitate to use its muscle to get what it wants from OEMs — it revised Samsung’s app license to specifically require Google location services be installed and used by default. Whether or not Google’s behavior is anti-competitive is a matter for the court to decide, but it’s definitely aggressive… For all of Android’s open-source ideals, Google is very much in control — and it’s not shy about letting its partners know it.”

Much, much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JMarra” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Google used Android compatibility as ‘club’ against Skyhook – May 9, 2011
Apple CEO Steve Jobs hid iPad development from Google mole Eric Schmidt – April 12, 2011
Steve Jobs: Adobe is ‘lazy’, Google can’t ‘kill iPhone,’ ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra is ‘bullshit’ – February 1, 2010

23 Comments

  1. When the Department of Justice instituted antitrust proceedings against Microsoft Bill Gates was called to the stand which revealed a treasure trove of company emails outlining how OEMs were encouraged to deny other operating systems to be loaded on PCs as well as Microsoft’s efforts to strangle Netscape by giving away its browser for free. The DOJ stopped short of breaking up Microsoft as it was felt that they were better left alone as an American tech Titan to compete against the Japanese which were flooding America with cheap automobiles. That was the reasoning behind the Reagan Administration to muzzle to DOJ.

    It is to be hoped that the DOJ will not view Google with such leniency if it is found guilty of abusing its monopolistic position with respect to ‘open’ Android. This could be the thin end of the wedge that opens the floodgates against Google which has been getting away with stealing intellectual property and generally acting as if it could pilfer ideas and concepts at will.

    1. I would argue that Android is designed in such a way as to encourage other companies (HTC, Samsung,LG, etc) to effortlessly copy innovation from Apple – i.e., it is not helping American industry, it is hurting it. Even Android market is a good example of it. You could find 25 Disney applications on Android. None actually come from Disney – all produced by some shady developers who take advantage of Disney name. and list goes on.

      1. You make a good point there. Google is the Fifth Column that allows cheap knock-offs from Korea, Taiwan & low cost manufacturing countries to acquire Apple intellectual property pilfered by Google & offered for free in exchange for advertising driven revenue to compete against homegrown talent that expends treasure & resources to develop an advanced touchscreen concept. 

        Take pinch & zoom for instance – no one outside Apple developed the technology that allowed you to interact effortlessly with your device. That was simply lifted as part of Google’s shameless pilfering and incorporated into Android without incurring original development costs to discover the implementation. This has allowed companies such as HTC, Samsung and others a cost free gateway to compete against Apple and by extension original American ingenuity.

        1. No one outside of apple developed Pinch and Zoom? Bullshiat! You need to learn some history son.

          Pinch to Zoom and every “gesture” that we enjoy on our modern devices are around 30 years old! There were hardware demos in the early 80s showing off these gestures on more than one device (truly ahead of the times).

          Now what Apple did do was hire one of the pioneers in this field and they were the first to bring the technology to market in a mass produced product, which is no small feat and surely they are to be congratulated on that job.

          However they were hardly the ‘inventors’ of it, and the ‘development’ had been going on for many years before Apple got interested!

          Apple was very visionary in that they were the first to “recognize” the significance of gestures. I also believe they were really the first company to deliver on the original dream of multi-touch and gesture based input.

          Until Apple got involved it was largely academic research with a few ahead of the times, but failed products in the history books.

            1. That has to be decided in a court of law.

              There is a lot of prior art in this field and def more than one way to process the mechanics of a gesture in software.

    2. Dude are you even from the US?
      WTF are you talking about?

      compete against the Japanese flooding the US with cheap automobiles? Its not even the same market man!

      Reagan? He had been out of office for at least a decade when the DOJ went after MS!

    1. Google are born cheaters & liars.

      Open = closed. Freedom = control. Choice = coercion. Partner = browbeat.

      This is doublespeak at its worst.

    2. Well Steve has simplified the whole process really.

      No need to call you or make a big deal about it, he just has one of his minions send you a “denied” email about your latest app submission!

      lol

  2. Google is so two faced it makes me want to throw-up. Fandroids can bitch about Apple being closed and restricted but they don’t pretend to be anything else. They are who they are and its always been that way. Google plays on nerds/geeks desire to not be controlled by Apple by pretending to not care about money/profits and giving everything away for free. At the end of the day they are a multi-billion dollar corporation and when you get in the way of their money making they turn every other fortune 500 company.

    1. “Open” for Fandroids means free. That’s why Fandroids on the whole spend less money on Apps than iOS users. Fandroids want their apps free or cheap because if they didn’t already get their phones for free, they probably spent their life savings on it. That leaves them crying for free apps, eating ramen, and paying for $5 hookers.

  3. Not so “open” after all. Clearly the Microsoft of the mobile world. I’m sure all those sucker “partners” will eventually rue the day they threw with those scumbags. Remember, what Google sells is YOU. You’re not the customer; you’re the product.

  4. Google I use to like you! But you stabbed Apple in the Back. Business is Business but your sneak attack means that nobody will help you when your down on your knees.

    Android is a cheap knockoff of iOS.

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