updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed September 28, 2011
Google worries ATT lawsuit leaks plans to Apple
Google late Tuesday filed a motion asking US District Judge Ellen Huvelle to keep confidential Android details in the DOJ lawsuit over the AT&T merger. It was concerned that AT&T, T-Mobile, or the DOJ might reveal "competitively sensitive" detals, such as when new versions of Android or devices might ship. The filing seen by Bloomberg showed Google worried that the media or a rival like Apple would get information without Google knowing it would be made public.
"Without such additional protection [from a guarantee], Google and other non- parties could find their confidential information -- such as Google’s business plans related to Android -- in the hands of competitors (or their competitors’ consultants), or even in newspapers," the search firm said.
The lawsuit may require that AT&T and T-Mobile try to prove that they won't hurt device exclusivity deals through merging. T-Mobile has made a point of getting exclusive Android devices, such as the myTouch line, as well as being the first to carry reference Android phones like the Nexus One and Nexus S. While a few might just transition over, it could lead to fewer overall unique designs. Sprint has complained that phone makers would be reluctant to give exclusives beyond AT&T knowing that it commanded the majority of the US smartphone market.
Apple has often banked on its special deals with carriers and may want to see what Android makers like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung are negotiating with carriers. Theoretically, it could time iPhone and iPad releases to overshadow their Android equivalents.