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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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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.


"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot














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