Monday, May 21, 2012

Google Agrees To Keep Android Free And Open For Five Years

For Google to secure the approval of Chinese authorities to purchase Motorola Mobility, it had to guarantee that Android would remain free and open for five more years.
It was announced yesterday that China has finally approved the purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google.  This was the last stumbling block to the acquisition, and now that it has been cleared, the deal is expected to close within a week.  It does seem, though, that Google had to make at least one large concession to gain that approval.

According to a report from Reuters:

"A main condition of the deal is that the Android system remain free and open for five years, said a source who is familiar with the Chinese approval but not authorized to discuss it."

There had been some fears when this deal was announced last August that Google would stop providing Android to other vendors to continue manufacturing phones, but Google has stated numerous times that it did not plan to give any preferential treatment to the Motorola brand.  While this has been the stated intent of Google, it seems China wanted it said in a more official capacity that would give it an avenue to come back on the search giant should it break its promise.  Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said of the agreement, ”Our stance since we agreed to acquire Motorola has not changed, and we look forward to closing the deal.”
Although Google is most readily associated with Android, it needs to be noted that it is actually developed by the Open Handset Alliance which consists of 84 members.  Google is the leader of this group, so it wouldn’t be an arbitrary decision to pull the operating system from other vendors.

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