Google’s Rubin: Don’t expect Alliance help if you fragment Android

Sep 16, 2012
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Google has struck back at claims that it strong-armed Acer into ditching a collaboration with Alibaba, insisting that the contentious Aliyun platform is not only based on Android but distributes pirated Android apps. Chinese firm Alibaba made loud protests last week, after Acer withdrew launch support for the Aliyun-based CloudMobile A800 smartphone only moments before the handset made its official debut, and accused Google of threatening Acer with Android expulsion. Not so, Google's Andy Rubin says: Alibaba shouldn't expect the support of an Open Handset Alliance (OHA) member if it's not going to be work to be compatible with official Android.

"We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you're under no requirement to be compatible" Andy Rubin, senior VP of Android at Google took to Google+ to point out. "However, the fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there's really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that's gone into that platform by the OHA."

In a post on the official Android blog, meanwhile, Rubin phrases the OHA ecosystem as a "virtuous cycle" where events are reinforced "through a feedback loop" in which "each iteration of the cycle positively reinforces the previous one." The contrast, the exec points out, is that Aliyun does not move to reinforce Android in any way.

"So if you want to benefit from the Android ecosystem, then make the choice to be compatible. Its easy, free, and we'll even help you out" Rubin concluded. "But if you don't want to be compatible, then don't expect help from OHA members that are all working to support and build a unified Android ecosystem."

Rubin's comments were prompted by arguments by Alibaba exec Jon Spelich, who told CNET that Google was "just speculating" about the company's platform, and that "Aliyun is different":

"Aliyun is an open-source based OS that is also an open ecosystem that allows others to host their mobile-enabled Web sites in our cloud and we make those Web sites available to users who use Aliyun OS phones. So we are an ecosystem that includes other Internet companies, whereas Android does not because it provides apps through downloads. It's the crux of the whole cloud vs. app debate. Cloud is open, apps system is closed because it is controlled by the operator of the apps marketplace. So you see: Two competing ecosystems, one that's open through the cloud, the other is closed and restricts users to only the apps that they want you to see" Alibaba

That argument of broader flexibility for developers, service providers, and end users doesn't wash with Google, however. "Noncompatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem" the company said in a statement.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]


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