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Android's head honcho, Any Rubin.  (Source: gizmodo.com)
Beginning to clamp down on fragmentation, seeks oversight

Ever since Google introduced the Android mobile OS to the world in the fall of 2008, the company has advocated an open-source approach to its development and implementation. On one hand, this attitude helped fuel Android's auspicious growth. On the other hand, it also resulted in a fragmented OS. Now, Google is beginning to rein in the rampant tweaking of the software, in an effort aimed at uniformity.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Google over the last few months has sent this message to the major carriers and device manufacturers that support Android: Playtime is over. Google, particularly Android head Andy Rubin, will have oversight of any future Android partnerships, and anyone who wants early access to the latest iteration of the software will need to seek permission from Rubin himself.

"The Google that once welcomed all comers to help get its mobile software off the ground has become far more discriminating—especially for companies that want to include Google services such as search and maps on their hardware," Bloomberg reports.

Ostensibly, Rubin predicted the fragmentation that would follow a platform as open as Android. That's why the company chooses a chipmaker and device manufacturer when it launches a new product, to show off what it can accomplish. In the past, it was Qualcomm and HTC -- both companies have made huge market gains as a result. 

According to several sources for Bloomberg's report, Google has demanded that Android licensees abide by "non-fragmentation clauses" that grant Google the final word on customization matters. It also means they need approval from Google to partner with others. John Lagerlin, director of global Android partnerships, told Bloomberg that it's about quality control and aiming towards a "common denominator" experience.

And while Rubin claims that a clause has always been part of the license, sources say that Google has been clamping down in recent months. Facebook, which is trying to launch its own Android device, has reportedly been unhappy because of Google's oversight. Google has also gotten involved with an upcoming Android phone from Verizon that incorporates rival Microsoft's Bing search engine, holding up its release. 

This policy has reportedly resulted in complaints to the Justice Department. Google declined to comment on this aspect.

In addition, Google has also begun to withhold code from the public, which hurts developers and smaller companies. According to Bloomberg, Google will not release the source code for the tablet Honeycomb OS anytime in the near future. 

"The premise of a true open software platform may be where Android started, but it's not where Android is going," Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop told Bloomberg. Elop, a former Microsoft executive, recently established a "strategic partnership" with his former employer instead of Google because, he says, he would be able to innovate more with Windows Phone 7 than Android.

"Microsoft often got criticized for treating all partners the same, whether they were doing great work or mediocre work," Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg told Bloomberg. "Google seems to have no problem with playing favorites."

The bottom line from the report: "Despite grumblings, Google's Android mobile operating system is still open—it's just getting more heavily policed."



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Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 3/31/2011 10:17:14 AM , Rating: -1
Googles transformation into Microsoft is almost complete. Microsoft is a three trick pony (all their revenue essentially comes from Windows, Office and the Server stack - note that two of those core products are over 20 years old) whilst Google is a one trick pony (96% of Google's revenue comes from selling advertising, a product now over a decade old). Both seek to control and manipulate a huge OEM chain, both have tried countless initiatives outside of their core cash cows and failed to make any money from any of them (even the 'successes' such as Xbox and YouTube don't make any real money).

I fully expect Google to increasingly offer more of its services as Android only exclusives, particularly once all the iPad clones crash and burn in the next year. I also expect Apple to detonate a sizable bomb under Google once the results of last year's purchase of Siri bears fruit hitched to the Death Star data centre in Carolina.

I could be wrong about all this of course but what interesting times these are.




RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By MeesterNid on 3/31/2011 10:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
96% of Google's revenue comes from selling advertising, a product now over a decade old


Really!? Advertising's been around for only a decade and Google invented it!? I could've sworn seeing commercials, aka ads, on TV as far back as the 80's.

Hmmm...perhaps my memory is failing me.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By InfinityzeN on 3/31/2011 10:33:07 AM , Rating: 2
I do believe he is saying that Google has been doing it for 10+ years. Reading comprehension.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By sprockkets on 3/31/2011 12:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
"You're in big trouble though, pal. I eat pieces of sh it like you for breakfast!"

"You eat pieces of sh it for breakfast?"

[long pause] "No!"


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By FITCamaro on 3/31/2011 10:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is definitely making money off the Xbox 360. Yes they lost a lot of money initially. Compounded by the $1 billion dollar charge for all the warranties on early 360s.

But to think in the past 6 years, with all the games sold, the Xbox Live subscriptions and content sold, the merchandise sold, etc. that they haven't turned a profit? No. They've made money.

Now Youtube you're probably right. I doubt Google has made money from it considering the insanely high cost to purchase it, the massive costs to maintain it, and what I doubt is a huge amount of money generated from it. I mean even if ads are displayed on Youtube, who really clicks on them? Same kind of goes for Gmail.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By sprockkets on 3/31/2011 10:41:24 AM , Rating: 3
Dude, the way you sound you belong on roughlydrafted.com. There's another idiot you would resonate perfectly with, Dainel "Dildo" Dilger.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 3/31/2011 6:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
Vic Gundotra in his keynote at I/O last year:
quote:
If Google didn’t act, it faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier were our choice. That’s a future we don’t want. […]

So if you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android.


Businessweek today:
quote:
From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.



I guess all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than other animals :)


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By SkullOne on 3/31/2011 10:42:23 AM , Rating: 2
Why would they possibly lock any service exclusively to Android? Everything Google does is web based. They do everything web based because of their ads. It's how they make their money which you even admitted too. By putting services exclusively on Android they would be cutting into their very own revenues.

Once all the iPad clones crash and burn? You were saying the same crap about Android against iOS and how did that turn out? We'll see how Samsung does with their 10.1 and 8.9 tablet's running Honeycomb at competitive prices. I expect them to do rather well. Not iPad well since Samsung doesn't have an RDF to herd the sheep, but in the end users prefer choice and openness of their devices. This is already seen with how quickly Android has grown and the failure of iPhone 4 on Verizon.

Seriously though do you even think before you type anything or are you too busy ogling a picture of your Lord and Master Jobs?


By themaster08 on 3/31/2011 12:15:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Microsoft is a three trick pony (all their revenue essentially comes from Windows, Office and the Server stack - note that two of those core products are over 20 years old)
Because those core products are sustainable. There will always be a need for those products, contrary to your consumer gadget takeover mantra.

Ford's core business is selling cars. Note that these products are over 100 years. What's your point?


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By sprockkets on 3/31/2011 2:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here, let's word this for you as simple as possible since you depend on apple products:

Since day one, Android =! Google Phone.

Android = open
Google Apps = closed

Use Android = open platform

Want Google integration = closed platform.

Stop trying to spread FUD with your bull sh it.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 3/31/2011 4:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Here, let's word this for you as simple as possible since you depend on apple products:

Since day one, Android =! Google Phone.

Android = open
Google Apps = closed

Use Android = open platform

Want Google integration = closed platform.

Stop trying to spread FUD with your bull sh it.


That may have been the model to start with, or at least the one that Google touted in public (there was always secret clauses negotiated with Android handset makers - these remain secret).

My reading of what Google seems to be saying (plus their recent announcement about limiting the release of Android 3 for tablets) is that Google is moving beyond the previous model for Android. What Google is talking about is taking more control over who get's Android and how they use it.

I ask again what is open about this?

My view is that if Android was open then all code for each iteration of Android would be released immediately with the usual type of open source licensing wrapper. It isn't.

And my view is that if Google really was open then all the necessary hooks and APIs for Google services for Android OEMs would be freely available for all, again in a suitable liberal and non -restrictive open source licensing wrapper. They are not.

I cannot see how anyone could characterise Android as being open. It's just free, in terms of monetary cost, to carriers and handset makers - that's not "open".


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By sprockkets on 3/31/2011 5:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
The only people calling it "open" are the mis-informed, or the FUD crowd on the apple side, and someone at Google who just happens to be the stupid CEO. If you want an "open" platform there is Nokia's N900 and if it sees the light of day, the N950.

Android is NOT GPL; it is ASL2.0, with only the kernel and other bits being GPL. Google can chose to not release the source of its modifications at any time, without repercussion.


By zozzlhandler on 3/31/2011 9:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
The CEO of Google is stupid? I wish I was that stupid. Then I could start a multi-billion company...


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By lolmuly on 3/31/2011 6:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
(there was always secret clauses negotiated with Android handset makers - these remain secret)


wow, speculate much?

M Knight called, he wants his tinfoil hats back for a new movie.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By SkullOne on 3/31/2011 4:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Open means anybody can use it. iOS isn't open. Android is open.

If you would just drag your head out of the RDF for a minute you'd realize that Google doesn't want to go walled garden. They want to stop crap like this:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=117...

Hopefully they want to stop stupid stuff like Sense, Blur and Touchwiz as well because stuff like that causes tons of lag time in updating a phone to the latest Android version.

Google also wants to stop stuff like what Samsung is doing to their customers. Keep promising updates but never actually updating squat. That's all Google wants to do because that will reel in the fragmentation. Any platform (your beloved Apple included) has some sort of fragmentation. The key to minimize it which is what Google is trying to do.

Google wants Android to be relative untouched. Anything that gets added to it needs to be an installed package. HTC gives us Sense because its "pretty". The problem is not everybody likes Sense. I hate it. My Thunderbolt doesn't have it anymore thanks to rooting. Tmobile released an open source theme engine for Android. That's what Google wants. That way HTC can push out updates to its phones faster then they already do.

Xbox is making money. The amount doesn't matter (no matter what you say) because the point is they are making profit.

What do you mean Google blocks Bing from searching Youtube? I just pulled up 2 videos both going back to YouTube. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=super+bowl+201...

There is a big difference between being "our best launch" and being successful. Sorry but even Verizon has said sales were below expectations. What happened to all those predictions of 11 million devices on Verizon sold?

iPod dominance wasn't due to the device. It was due to iTunes and DRM forcing people into a platform. Joe Average doesn't know that they can burn those songs to a CD and rip back into MP3 which would be DRM free. They just know that if they don't keep using iTunes their music stops working.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 3/31/2011 5:28:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Open means anybody can use it. iOS isn't open. Android is open.

If you would just drag your head out of the RDF for a minute you'd realize that Google doesn't want to go walled garden. They want to stop crap like this:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=117...

Hopefully they want to stop stupid stuff like Sense, Blur and Touchwiz as well because stuff like that causes tons of lag time in updating a phone to the latest Android version.

Google also wants to stop stuff like what Samsung is doing to their customers. Keep promising updates but never actually updating squat. That's all Google wants to do because that will reel in the fragmentation. Any platform (your beloved Apple included) has some sort of fragmentation. The key to minimize it which is what Google is trying to do.

Google wants Android to be relative untouched. Anything that gets added to it needs to be an installed package. HTC gives us Sense because its "pretty". The problem is not everybody likes Sense. I hate it. My Thunderbolt doesn't have it anymore thanks to rooting. Tmobile released an open source theme engine for Android. That's what Google wants. That way HTC can push out updates to its phones faster then they already do.


So in other words Android is not open - Google control how it is used and who can do what with it. That's not open :)

quote:
Xbox is making money. The amount doesn't matter (no matter what you say) because the point is they are making profit.


How can you say 'the amount doesn't matter' and expect to be taken seriously? The point I made was that if you look at the actual finances of Microsoft it is clear that the old ageing cash cows of Windows, Office and Server stacks are what prop the company up. In comparison the amount of profit made on Xbox (and WP7 even if they sell hundreds of millions) is chump change. Neither Xbox or WP7 help MS diversify it's income sources.

quote:
What do you mean Google blocks Bing from searching Youtube? I just pulled up 2 videos both going back to YouTube. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=super+bowl+201...


Check out http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/microsoft-f...

Google blocks Bing from fully indexing YouTube - jolly open of them.

quote:
There is a big difference between being "our best launch" and being successful. Sorry but even Verizon has said sales were below expectations. What happened to all those predictions of 11 million devices on Verizon sold?


As neither of us know what the sales figures are and we are both blowing smoke. Here is my prediction. When Apple releases it's latest quarterly results in a couple of weeks it will show that iPhone 4 sales are massively up on the same quarter as last year. Trying to pretend that the iPhone is anything other than hugely successful just looks like a desperate denial of self evident reality.

quote:
iPod dominance wasn't due to the device. It was due to iTunes and DRM forcing people into a platform. Joe Average doesn't know that they can burn those songs to a CD and rip back into MP3 which would be DRM free. They just know that if they don't keep using iTunes their music stops working.


Interesting that you think that iTunes was separate from the iPod when Apple's success was clearly built on integration. Falling back on the old 'Apple products only sell well because it's customers are stupid/fooled by advertising/or trapped by a pernicious closed eco-system' is just plain silly. And also desperate. How does it feel to have the events of the real world so out of kilter with your inner world view? It must be very disturbing.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By mfergus on 4/1/2011 6:20:15 AM , Rating: 1
Nobody should love or be as obsessed with any company as Tony is with Apple.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Tony Swash on 4/1/2011 9:44:43 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Nobody should love or be as obsessed with any company as Tony is with Apple.


My comment was about Google ;)


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By mfergus on 4/1/2011 6:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
And they are a competitor to your beloved Apple.


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By phantom505 on 4/1/2011 7:42:39 AM , Rating: 1
So have you been to www.google.com yet?

It's really cool.

They have a search engine, browsers, email with online office apps, and bunch of other apps. I hear they even have a video site called YouTube.

They make a phone OS that they don't charge directly for? CRAZINESS!

What will they think of next? A human anatomy program anyone can access?


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By phantom505 on 4/1/2011 7:44:27 AM , Rating: 2
What in that got an automatic down rate?


RE: Google morphs into Microsoft
By Kurz on 4/1/2011 10:47:41 AM , Rating: 2
if you respond to a -1 poster you get an automatic down rate.


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