14 February 2014

Ars Technica: “New Android OEM licensing terms leak; “Open” comes with a lot of restrictions”

Google now imposes requirements on not only what OEMs load on their devices, but where, with respect to the default home screen icon and widget layout. The terms say "Google Phone-top Search and the Android Market Client icon must be placed at least on the panel immediately adjacent to the Default Home Screen" meaning the search widget and Android market must always be a swipe away from the main page. Google also says "all other Google Applications will be placed no more than one level below the Phone Top"—meaning the app drawer is fine—and requires that Google be set as the default search engine for "all Web search access points on the Device." Google's Network Location Provider must not only be included, but set as the default network location provider; this is no doubt the clause that triggered a lawsuit from rival location company Skyhook. Ron Amadeo

And people wonder why Android is the next target for EU antitrust investigations! Bundling and forcing its own services as default on new devices to the detriment of the competition, using a dominant position in one market (in Europe Android has about 50% market share, much more in some countries) to sustain a near-monopoly in another (in web search Google has almost 95% market share), is what got Microsoft into trouble a couple of years back, in the end forcing them to offer customized versions of Windows in the EU and display the Browser Choice screen.

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