Skyhook is one of those useful technologies that most people aren’t aware they’re taking advantage of, but would miss if they were absent; the company offers positioning triangulation usingWiFi for devices that lack true GPS capabilities. Now they’re suing Google over claims that the search giant forced Motorola to drop Skyhook in favor of Google’s own alternative, having changed their compliance testing rules in a way that unfavorably penalized them.
According to Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan, Google changed its rules regarding positioning services on Android devices so that their own Google Location Service was mandatory. He claims Motorola was told that they would need to run both services side-by-side – requiring a technological rework of their software and potentially impacting on battery life for the end-user – as well as that they must inform device owners misleading warnings about Skyhook’s use of personal data.
“There was a time when Google tried to compete fairly with Skyhook. But once Google realized its positioning technology was not competitive, it chose other means to undermined Skyhook and damage and attempt to destroy its position in the marketplace for location positioning technology. … Google wielded its control over the Android operating system, as well as other Google mobile applications such as Google Maps, to force device manufacturers to use its technology rather than that of Skyhook, to terminate contractual obligations with Skyhook, and to otherwise force manufacturers to sacrifice superior end user experience with Skyhook by threatening directly or indirectly to deny timely and equal access to evolving versions of the Android operating system and other Google mobile applications.” Skyhook vs. Google complaint
The split, the suit contents, centers on Google and Skyhook’s differing approaches to monetization, with Google giving away their positioning technology free so that they can gather user information and improve their advertizing revenue, while Skyhook charges fees to manufacturers instead. As a result, they contend they’re missing out on millions in revenue from the Motorola deal and agreements with others. Google is yet to comment.