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Google's Android Contract: Not Very Open
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jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 4:31:22 PM
I see I'm not the only one who suspects illegality
But as neither I nor Prof. Edelman are lawyers, I trust that the latter consulted with a law professor prior to making his statement.  I understand that Harvard has some very good ones.

 
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 3:29:48 PM
Re: Semantics

And where was the Harvard review on the Anti-trust issues with Apple and Microsoft?  Google's play on the word "open" is truly a marketing tactic not based in open code reality and it's no secret.  You are exactly right, Google's play is the same as Apple and M$ so why the anti-trust concerns?

Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/14/2014 | 3:25:52 PM
Re: Adroid adopters should insist on more openness
Google likes to point out that Edelman has consulted for Microsoft but I don't think that invalidates or addresses his points. While Google may be guilty of using "open" a bit too freely, I'm not convinced its tying is more anticompetitive than what every other platform company does.

Should Android and Windows Phone even be thought of as the same market, given that Microsoft is in the business of selling its operating system and Android is free? Android pretty much killed the market for non-free operating systems. 
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 3:22:22 PM
Re: Android is a lease not a purchase
I find it interesting now that Google's Andriod is a dominent mobile platform it's taking this type of heat when Microsoft has pretty much conducted itself in the same manner for decades.  Dare a manufacturer place a licensed OEM version of Windows on a device with "vendor" changes upon it.  How about omitting I.E. or Bing search for example.  Not installing any Microsoft components is not allowed with no anti-trust there except maybe being forced to provide options at time of install which Google also allowes.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/14/2014 | 2:48:05 PM
Adroid adopters should insist on more openness
Agree, Tom, once you pass 50% market share, you become more susceptible to charges of monopoly and restraint of trade. Google dictates the adoption of Google Maps, the reverse side of the coin of Apple restricting its adoption in favor of Apple Maps. Which company is more restrictive? To me, they're doing the same thing, with Apple acknowledging it's a closed system. Still, there's resentment in Edelman's assessment of Google using the term open. Microsoft knows better than most how damaging "open" is when used in contrast to your company's practices. Android adopters, not Microsoft consultants, should be protesting. 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 2:08:36 PM
Re: Semantics
The problem is that Google claims to be open, but isn't. I don't hear many complaints about Apple's very closed ecosystem anymore, but they're very clear that it is closed with few prospects for changing. Google says they're open, but they're really no different than all the other players in that space.

Shame on Google for misrepresenting itself, and shame on the rest of us for believing any tech giant would really be all that different from how everyone else in the market plays.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 2:01:40 PM
Re: Semantics
This idea that Google's platform is open is pretty much a farce. Let's face it: Google wants to court developers to its ecosystem. In order to do that, it promoted the ethos of openness. But in order for it to succeed in its business objectives, it has to have control over its operating systems like Android. 

It's the Microsoft and Apple playbook. Google is in the same game. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/14/2014 | 1:57:03 PM
Re: Android is a lease not a purchase
> An all or nothing approach on Google Apps seems legal

Except in antitrust law, things change when a company dominates a market. What might be fine for a company with a small market share to do may not be for a market leader like Google. That's why the definition of the relevant market matters.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 12:55:32 PM
Android is a lease not a purchase
Google's agreement with partners is like a landlord's agreement with tenants.  If no pets are allowed then no pets can be in the apartment.  If not liked then you don't have to take it.  In addition, Google gives Android to partners for free unlike Microsoft.  An all or nothing approach on Google Apps seems legal for the right to free usage.  Samsung is working on their own OS so we'll see how well that goes but if HP couldn't make WebOS work I'm not so sure Samsung can go it alone either.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 12:36:28 PM
Semantics
That's an interesting opinion from someone who's consulted for Google's chief rivals in the overall technology market. Perhaps the usage of the term "open" is really the issue here. Whatever apps come preinstalled on any device (which includes all kinds of junk that carriers and the hardware makers add without regard to customer preference), competing apps can be installed and defaults can be set to bypass the native Google app for just about any function. All of the big tech guys across all of the markets do similar things. Does that make it right? No, but maybe we ought not single out one over the other.

My decidedly non-legal expert opinion...
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