Is Google Threatening Acer in China?

Carl Weinschenk

The allegation that Google may have stopped Acer from using an operating system other than Android in China is worth keeping an eye on.

The story is still a bit sketchy since Acer and Google have declined to comment. Reuters reports that Acer was set to launch the CloudMobile A800 smartphone, which was to feature the Aliyun operating system from Alibaba, in the Chinese market. The launch event was set for Shanghai on Sept. 13.

The event was canceled. Alibaba minced no words on what happened:

"Our partner received notification from Google that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer," Alibaba Cloud Computing said in a statement.

It is important to wait to see if Google and/or Acer comments. Inquisitr’s James Johnson is skeptical of Alibaba’s claim. He said that the OS is aimed at lower-end devices and not smartphones. Thus, he reasons, it is unlikely to raise Google’s ire. He also said that what Acer is doing is not unique:

The claim by the Alibaba group seems strange considering the number of device manufacturers who create mobile products for various mobile platforms. For example Samsung creates Windows Phone and Google Android based handsets.

If the facts bear out what Alibaba claims, however, it is an important story in the context of Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Google claimed that Motorola would not gain any special favor over other hardware vendors. If Google indeed plays rough with Acer, it at least suggests that the company is not above throwing elbows in support of its operating system.

When a deal such as the Motorola Mobility acquisition is made, it is fair to give the parties the benefit of the doubt in that they will do what they say. A confirmation of what Alibaba claimed would be valuable food for thought.

Venture Beat suggests that it will become apparent quickly if Google indeed is closing the door on Acer using Aliyun:

One big question is what Acer’s decision means for the future of its relationship with Alibaba. Acer plans to announce another Aliyun-based smartpone next month, and a few more in the early part of next year. It’s unknown what the present situation means for those devices.

It also is unknown what this does or does not portend for other vendors. Is the story false? Is it true? Is it true — but a local decision made by Google’s Asian leadership? Or are Google’s other Android users in for heavy weather?

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