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News EC files complaint against Google for Android antitrust

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 20 Apr 2016.

  1. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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  2. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Is this any different than what Microsoft have done with Windows 10?
    Is it that Android is meant to be an Open Source Project but in practice it's not really?
     
  3. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Pretty sure Microsoft doesn't make Windows 10 licensees sign contracts which forbid 'em from using rival operating systems as well - mostly 'cos the EU has already found 'em guilty of anticompetitive practices and fined 'em a chunk of change for that sort of behaviour, so they're more subtle and/or don't do that sort of thing any more.
    Technically, it's pretty open: I could fork AOSP (the Android Open Source Project) tomorrow and have Halfacree's Awesome Mobile Platform ready to licence. Trouble is, thanks to the 'anti-fragmentation agreement,' no current Android OEM/ODM would be allowed to use it - which is one of the things the EU says is unfair, and I tend to agree.

    It also wouldn't have the Google Apps package. Since day one, Android has been a two-tier platform: there's the AOSP, and there's Android with Google; the former is open source and licence free, the latter requires you to sign the anti-fragmentation agreement and pay a licensing fee to Google in exchange for things people think Android itself has - like Gmail, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store.

    Then there's the hidden third tier, which is Chinese OEMs that don't give two hoots and stick the Google Apps bundle on AOSP without paying a penny to Google. Ah, China.
     
  4. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    So not having done any research that must mean Google does and the EU has proof of that, I'm not doubting that the practice happens or anything, I'm just amazed that Google would seemingly be that stupid, doing something like that (from a layman's point of view) seems to be asking for trouble.

    Yea i see your point, i didn't even know about AOSP until now, i always though like most people, as you said, that Android only came with Google's guff.
     
  5. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Using your modified AOSP fork with Google apps under Google's approval scheme: OK
    Using AOSP without Google's apps with no modifications: OK
    Using AOSP with modifications but making those modifications open source under the same license as AOSP to feed them back upstream: OK
    Using AOSP with modifications but keeping those modifications to yourself: not OK,

    It;s that last case where Google brings down the hammer and prevents an OEM from using their apps at all. That is the case with Amazon, whose FireOS is a fork with no open sourcing of the modified code, barring them from being eligable to produce any devices that do use Google's apps.
    A manufacturer is free to produce and Android device that includes Google's apps provided they follow their guidelines (e.g. make Google Search the default search even if another search provider is installed), and produce a device based on AOSP that does not include Google's apps. Huawei is an example of a manufacturer that does this.
     
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  6. flibblesan

    flibblesan Destroyer

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    The "anti-fragmentation agreement" covers devices that ship with Google services. You have no issues producing a variant of Android that doesn't include Google services, like Amazon FireOS for example. You only run into issues when you want to use Google services as this requires a license as they are not open source.
     
  7. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    Y'know, EC, there isn't much point in fighting something anticompetitive when you've already let it won. What they're doing here is effectively the same thing as a doctor discovering you have cancer in it's early stages, neglecting to do anything about it at all, and then letting it spread to the point where no amount of chemotherapy or whatever will cure it.
     
  8. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    No: the anti-fragmentation agreement covers vendors which ship devices with Google services. As I said in my comment, I could built an AOSP-based Android fork which does not use Google services and there wouldn't be a problem except nobody - not Samsung, not HTC, not BlackBerry - would be able to build a phone based on my Android fork 'cos they've all signed the anti-fragmentation agreement.

    That's what's got the EC's panties in a knot: Google is using the 'with Google' licensing agreement to lock third parties out while claiming Android is still free and open-source.

    At least, that's my understanding. Perfectly willing to be corrected, if anyone's got a copy of the agreement to hand...
     
  9. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    I'm more interested in when your "HAMP" is coming out Gareth ;)
     
  10. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Ham pee? Yeah, I think we might have a branding problem, here...
     

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