Hardware-maker Acer, which builds its own smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android operating system, was looking to release a phone in partnership with Chinese company Alibaba to run the Alibaba-made Aliyun operating system. However, that didn’t sit well with Google and according to the latest report, Google had twisted Acer’s hands in at least delaying, if not canceling, that product launch.
Aliyun is a mobile operating system built for China, which is a lucrative market for many mobile companies, that is seen as a direct competitor to Google’s Android OS. Built on Linux, Aliyun is said to also be able to run apps designed for Google’s Android OS natively.
Acer was originally scheduled to hold a media conference on September 13 to show off the new hardware running on Aliyun, but the event was cancelled at the last minute leaving press to question what happened. The phone had been scheduled to go on sale in China on Friday.
In a statement to CNET, Alibaba says, “Our partner was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner. We respect and understand our partner’s decision to postpone the introduction of the phone, and are dismayed by the impact this dispute has had on our partner.”
In the past, Google had left its Android partners to do as they please, both with the mobile OS and in terms of other business strategies. Samsung, an Android partner, also builds phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform and is slated to roll out a phone based on the Tizen mobile OS with Intel. Amazon, which uses the free-to-use Android OS and layers on its own skin and ecosystem on top, had released hardware running Google’s OS with its own digital storefronts. This is the first we’ve heard of Google tightening its grips on Android licensees.