updated 11:43 am EDT, Thu September 13, 2012
Alleges Google threatened to end Android license
Just as Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Acer was preparing to reveal an Aliyun-powered smartphone, the company has now apparently canceled the press conference for the phone. The Wall Street Journal reports that Acer still wants to launch the phone, which would run Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba's cloud-based Aliyun operating system, but Acer has given no indication as to the smartphone's future. Alibaba is claiming through its own channels that the Aliyun Acer phone, the CloudMobile A800, was postponed due to pressure from Google, which makes the Android software powering a number of other Acer phones.
In a post on the company's news site, Alibaba claims that Google threatened to cancel Acer's license to use Android for its other phones should Acer decide to launch the CloudMobile A800 with Aliyun.
Reportedly, journalists showed up at the location for Acer's event today only to find that they would not be allowed in.
Following the cancellation of Acer's A800 event, Alibaba released a statement saying "Our partner received notification that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer."
Neither Google nor Acer has confirmed or denied Alibaba's accusation. Google representatives have yet to comment, but an unnamed Acer representative told the Journal that "Acer will continue to communicate with Google and the company still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba software."
Alibaba's accusation is an odd one, as a number of other manufacturers relying on Google's Android OS have and continue to make mobile phones that run on other platforms. Samsung, for one, makes phones that run both Android and Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 8. Some observers have remarked that it would be strange for Google to threaten to "revoke the license" of a lesser hardware partner for working with a provider whose OS appears on only a few million low-end phones.
Further, Google releases Android in such a fashion that Acer could continue to make hardware that runs the OS without Google's assistance. Acer could follow the path of Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablets and Barnes & Noble with its Nook e-reader.
Google could have threatened to remove support for Google-related apps, such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Drive, and so forth, as well as certification for the Google Play Store. The openness of the Android platform, though, means that Acer would have had any number of other app stores to choose from, though that would likely have been a much less attractive option.
Alibaba has been attempting to position Aliyun as a viable alternative to Android for manufacturers interested in the Chinese market. The e-retailer believes that Android's recent legal troubles and Google's own clashes with the Chinese government make the platform an ill fit for the Chinese market, and it has been trying to make that case to others. Alibaba has committed to increasing investment in Aliyun to the tune of around $158 million per year. [image via SlashGear]