Friday, April 01, 2011

Classic bait and switch

Following on from my last post about Google's non-release of Android "Honeycomb", it seems that the company have quite neatly bent the mobile phone companies over a barrel and begun screwing them royally...
Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. 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.

John Gruber sums up what this means, whilst also claiming that he "saw this coming all along"...
So here’s the Android bait-and-switch laid bare. Android was “open” only until it became popular and handset makers dependent upon it. Now that Google has the handset makers by the balls, Android is no longer open and Google starts asserting control.

I pass no judgement on Google's behaviour—it is, after all, a business: what does amuse me is the fact that so many people somehow thought that Google wasn't...

7 comments:

Longrider said...

Given Google's desire to use this as a platform for imposing advertising on the consumer, all the more reason to avoid Android. There are other alternatives out there and next time I am looking for a smartphone, one of those alternatives will be my choice.

Paul Lockett said...

I don't think any sensible person thought that Google was a presenting a perfect model of openness, just that it offered something significantly better than Apple, Microsoft, et al, which of course, it did and still does.

Rob said...

Agree with PL.

While it doesn't offer open it does offer "FREE" paid for by the advertising.

While Apple has been succesful with its tie in strategies with consumers its model is dead in the water now. I have benefited from apple's share price rise but we are near the top. They are going to have to hit the next wave at the front/top or they can just tread water for another 10 years as they were before ipod and wait for the next wave. It's a good business model as all the loyal (deluded) fans will keep their coffers full while they wait for the next growth opportunity and tie some more people to their products with their compatibility shananigins.

Longrider said...

It's the advertising that I really don't want. I'd prefer to pay more for the product than have people using my phone to shill their stuff.

William said...

What's a smartphone?

Jim said...

"companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software"

You wouldn't expect to get that kind of access to the most open of open source projects until they are actually released.

Google may or may not be playing fast and loose with the notion of open source in general but this case is a commercial spat, pure and simple.

necronaut said...

I'm actually glad Google have done this. My experience of when Orange/T-Mobile/Vodafone used Android for the Desire they install a ton of branded bloatware like game demos, branded browsers, mp3 stores which are undeleteable and are more restrictive. I had to debrand my phone to get full freedom which is a fiddly process. Eat Google's dick Orange mobile.