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Google Apps License Forbids Forking, Promotes Google Services

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the also-requires-you-bow-to-satan-and-eat-twinkies dept.

Google 163

Sockatume writes "If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to license them. A copy of the OEM licensing agreement from 2011 was recently leaked, and Ars Technica provides a summary. Amongst the rules: a company licensing Google Apps can't act in a way that would fragment Android, but must also maintain the platform's open-ness; most of Google's services must be included; Google apps must be defaults, and placed within a couple of clicks of the default home screen. No surprises, but it's interesting to see the details laid out."

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First post? (-1, Offtopic)

Calydor (739835) | about 7 months ago | (#46239453)

No surprises

News for nerds, stuff that matters

Re:First post? (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about 7 months ago | (#46239695)

What about the ability to unlock the bootstrapper? My Motorola phone, which came out while Motorola was owned by Google, doesn't allow me to unlock the bootstrapper. No exploit exists, so no CyanogenMod for me... and Motorola's last OS update was to 4.1.2 over a year ago, and I purchased the phone with that version.

I don't see how you can say there is a requirement to "maintain the platform's open-ness" when the company you own doesn't keep their devices open.

Re:First post? (1)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 7 months ago | (#46239795)

I always shop for a phone that is supported by Cyanogenmod for that very reason.

Re:First post? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 7 months ago | (#46239909)

Agreed... in my case, installing CM is supported for the firmware that the phone had when I bought it.

I hadn't gotten around to installing CM yet, and Motorola sent out a "minor" update, one that didn't change the OS version. While I was typing text on the phone, the update dialog popped up and my thumb was already heading toward the "Update Now" button. It was too late... it immediately rebooted and began installing the update that "fixed" the exploit.

Because of that little number by Motorola (its fairly sneaky update dialog coupled with killing bootstrapper unlock) means I'll probably never buy another Moto phone again, and honestly I've just about had it with Android in general given that quite a few other Android OEMs act the same way or worse (at least Moto uses nearly-stock UI).

Re:First post? (2)

mellon (7048) | about 7 months ago | (#46240201)

Jolla? You know you wanna. :)

That really sucks—sorry!

Re:First post? (2, Troll)

mellon (7048) | about 7 months ago | (#46240195)

Why'd you buy a phone that couldn't be rooted? And why are you blaming Google? I'm sorry if this sounds callous, but seriously, I don't get it. I don't buy iPhones because they are a closed system. I don't buy locked Android phones because they are hard to update. What led you to decide to buy a locked phone when unlocked phones were readily available?

As for the App issue, it's actually extensively rebutted in the comments to the article. Bottom line: Ars Technica clickbait.

Re:First post? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240239)

Rooting and unlocking a bootloader are two completely separate things.

Re:First post? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 7 months ago | (#46240509)

My phone is rooted. It's not bootloader unlocked.

Re:First post? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240351)

Motorola Droid Razr? There are CM releases for it that utilize kexec instead of modifying the bootloader.

Re:First post? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 7 months ago | (#46240637)

Razr HD xt926 with firmware 9.18.79. I haven't looked at the kexec option. If CM works with that, I'll definitely be happy. Thanks for the pointer!

Antitrust (4, Interesting)

aphor (99965) | about 7 months ago | (#46239475)

Tying apps to phones might be illegal by Sherman Act: using dominance in mobile device OS market as leverage in the device app market.

Re:Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239541)

Ohh right, Microsoft was forced to remove IE from Windows, sorry, that never happened

Re:Antitrust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239635)

Yes it did.

In the EU MS was forced to remove IE and instead offer a special randomly arranged screen to select a browser, incl. FireFox, Opera, Safari, etc.

Re:Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239833)

IE was never removed, a start screen for selection of alternatives was added, much like the changes to Google pages on the proposed settlement between Google and EU

Re:Antitrust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239859)

Actually it's an update. Browser choice screen for EU users or something. I will probably learn its name some day, because the first thing I always has to do with a new Windows installation is go into Windows Update and throw that one in the garbage bin.

Re: Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240259)

Yes IE was removed from Windows. They had to offer a special version called Windows N.

Look it up before you write bullshit again

Re:Antitrust (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239551)

I agree with you that this sounds like it ought to be in violation of the Sherman Act, but give the shenanigans Apple has pulled and gotten away with on their ecosystem (rejecting apps that compete with their core offerings, that whole equal pricing through the app store and a merchants website, etc), I highly doubt any legal backlash over this policy.

Re:Antitrust (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 7 months ago | (#46239665)

Yea its funny how offen apple gets away with same thing other companies get attacked for. Givin how google DOES give android out for free, that plays a roll in to that google can't be gone after for anything.

Re:Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239761)

Yes, because Apple never had a near-monopoly like Google has (Search, Android) or Microsoft (Windows).

That's the difference. And that Google give Android away for free is totally irrelevant.

Re:Antitrust (0)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46239925)

Yes, because Apple never had a near-monopoly like Google has (Search, Android) or Microsoft (Windows).

That's the difference. And that Google give Android away for free is totally irrelevant.

Apple had a near monopoly in smartphones up until a few years ago, and their monopoly in paid apps still reigns.
Google doesn't give Android away for free. AOSP is free. AOSP is not Android. Android costs lots of money and comes with a lot of strings attached. Now Google is saying the Google apps will cost money and also come with strings attached.

If Google is demonstrating that the Google apps are separate from the Android OS, then Google could easily be shown to be in violation of antitrust if they require OEMs to first buy into Android in order to have the privilege of buying into Google's apps.

Re:Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240173)

Plays a Roll? [wikipedia.org] Jesus, what are these illiterates doing at a nerd site? Mod that uneducated ignoramus down. The four letter word you can't spell that any third grader can is role.

Re:Antitrust (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 months ago | (#46240271)

Apple has 7.68% of the desktop market and 15.42% of the mobile market. They can pull a lot of stuff without getting into trouble because they don't have anything like the market share required to exert undue influence on the market. When they have larger shares, for example in the online music distribution market a few years ago, they do get investigated.

Your comment makes as much sense as complaining that your corner shop doesn't get into trouble for doing things that would be the target of antitrust investigations if Walmart did them. Apple is a highly profitable niche player, but still a niche player. They can't use their dominant position in one market to gain prominence in another because they don't have a dominant position in any market and haven't since the iPod.

Re:Antitrust (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46240665)

What folks around here seem to forget is that Apple tends to punch above it's market share weight. Likely because it inhabits a very profitable niche and the Reality Distortion Field is still has some power to it. And it's Apple. And MacBooks are cool. But is is a small player overall.

And just to keep all of the Apple haters happy, let's be clear that the US Government has spent quite a bit of time attempting to nail Apple [justice.gov] when it thinks they've abused a position in the market place.

Re:Antitrust (4, Insightful)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 7 months ago | (#46239583)

They're not tying it to the phone. They're tying it to the permission to utilize the Android trademark and to utilize the Google Apps. Think of it this way, "Here's a box of screws. If you want to use my hammer, then you need to use my wood also." "If you don't want to, go elsewhere." is fine and no lumber yard would run into anti-trust issues over it. (Might run out of customers however due to nature of the business).

Re:Antitrust (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239631)

"Here's a box of screws. If you want to use my hammer, then you need to use my wood also."

If you're using a hammer for screws, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Antitrust (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 7 months ago | (#46239741)

>> >>"Here's a box of screws. If you want to use my hammer, then you need to use my wood also."
>> If you're using a hammer for screws, you're doing it wrong.
This is Slashdot remember?

If I did make a logical argument people would still argue with me non-sensically. At least this way, I get to pick the argument focus for those individuals. :-)

Yeah.. that's what I was thinking of when I typed that...

Re:Antitrust (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46240733)

Actually, that's a valid way to use wood screw. Hammer then in, turn them out.

Re:Antitrust (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#46239679)

'You can only use our hammers if you only use our hammers' - might not play quite so well legally.

Re:Antitrust (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 7 months ago | (#46239743)

Then you don't buy the hammer - or you use the one that they're giving away for free (open source) but you don't get to call it their hammer (ref: Amazon).

Re:Antitrust (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 7 months ago | (#46240731)

The official position of the U.S. Department of Justice [justice.gov] is squishy-soft on antitrust enforcement on tie-in sales. This is partly in response to the "U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's 2001 decision in United States v. Microsoft [wikipedia.org] (the Internet Explorer/Windows tying case) which rejected application of the per se rule to "platform software," thereby "carving out what might be called a 'technology exception' to that rule.

What's killed the effectiveness of the Clayton Act is Justice Department policy on "economic analysis". The economic argument is that allowing monopolies to achieve economies of scale is good for the consumer. Read the DoJ position statement linked above, especially the sections on "prosecutorial discretion", to see this.

Re:Antitrust (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46239655)

It does not. Of course the Sherman act isn't a law, so you can't violate it as such. It's what and when the government should look at trust issues.

Re:Antitrust (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46240711)

The Sherman Antitrust Act [wikipedia.org] is most certainly a law. It's part of the US Code (Title 15). It describes who to prosecute and how. Rather law like.

Re:Antitrust (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 7 months ago | (#46239663)

From looking at wikipedia the Sherman act doesn't say that. I think your thinking of the Clayton Anti-Trust act. The Clayton act made illegal

sales on the condition that (A) the buyer or lessee not deal with the competitors of the seller or lessor ("exclusive dealings") or (B) the buyer also purchase another different product ("tying") but only when these acts substantially lessen competition (Act Section 3, codified at 15 U.S.C. 14);

Here Google isn't doing A(exclusive dealings). They are allowing other peoples apps on the phone. They allow competing search and location providers. They just require that Google be the default. They are "tying" different product together. It is possible to argue that this substantially lessens competition.

Re:Antitrust (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#46239827)

"I think your thinking of the Clayton Anti-Trust act. The Clayton act made illegal"

The USA has a Clayton's Anti-Trust Act? Thats priceless

(In OZ and NZ there used to be a drink (non-alcoholic) called Clayton's . It was advertised as "The drink I have when I am not having a drink"
Although the product eventually disappeared, the adjective Clayton's still remained in the popular usage)

Re: Antitrust (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 7 months ago | (#46239717)

The analogy to Internet explorer ties breaks down when you consider that Google allows the system to be used without they're apps.

Re: Antitrust (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46240051)

The analogy to Internet explorer ties breaks down when you consider that Google allows the system to be used without they're apps.

Google doesn't allow their apps to be used without Android.
You can't legally get Google's apps on AOSP anymore. You're forced to pay for Android and forced to enter into branding and whatever other bullshit agreements they tie you down with before you even have the option of buying the Google apps to include on your device. The apps are separate from Android, and this is trivially demonstrable. To require the purchase of the OS and agreement to all the encumbering contractual stipulations before one can buy the separate apps is anticompetitive once you show that the OS and apps are separate and represent separate markets. Google is desperately trying to maintain control over Android in the face of Amazon and Samsung (who are more than willing and capable of forking AOSP and going their own way, and both of whom have their own app stores).

Google is using their apps as leverage to keep Samsung on Android and to keep Amazon's Kindle OS shitty and gimped (no Google apps, no Play Store).
It's the same reason why Amazon lets Kindles and iPhones access Amazon Prime Instant Video, but not Android.

Imposing artificial restrictions upon one product or service in order to prop up another separate product or service is bullshit, even if it's a company you happen to give free analingus to.

Re: Antitrust (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 7 months ago | (#46240367)

So the apps are where they would need demostrated to have too much power, I think that's a fat harder case than in OS. And the OS is readily available.

Re: Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240371)

Used without they are apps? Christ, can someone point me to a site I can discuss nerdy things without these barely literate high school dropouts morons chiming in?

Re:Antitrust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240335)

You have no fucking idea what you are talking about. Using mobile device OS market dominance in mobile device Apps market? Clutching at straws. Let me guess...Apple employee?

Re:Antitrust (1)

technomom (444378) | about 7 months ago | (#46240565)

That's the beauty of this agreement. The apps are not being tied to Android. OEMs are free to build upon pure Android if they want and they can do so without including any of the Google apps at all. What this agreement states is that *if* they include the Google apps, they must take the package in its entirety and under the conditions specified.

Gee, just fork it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239535)

Turns out Apple is the most honest. Google has been playing everyone.

Re:Gee, just fork it. (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 7 months ago | (#46239561)

You're right, the Apple license to allow me to use iOS and Apple apps on my own phone brand is MUCH more open. At least according to my unicorn lawyer.

Re:Gee, just fork it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239639)

You're right, the Apple license to allow me to use iOS and Apple apps on my own phone brand is MUCH more open. At least according to my unicorn lawyer.

He said HONEST not OPEN

Re:Gee, just fork it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240109)

Alice and George murder Bill. The cops suspect them and interrogate them in separate rooms.

Cop #1: Alice, did you murder Bill?
Alice: Yes.

Cop #2: George, did you murder Bill?
George: No.

Alice and George are both guilty, yet Alice is more honest than George.

Re:Gee, just fork it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239683)

You are free to use the Darwin Kernel and make your own GUI.

opensource.apple.com

Re:Gee, just fork it. (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | about 7 months ago | (#46239791)

You are free to use the Darwin Kernel and make your own GUI.

...just as you're free to use AOSP without any Google Apps, and make your own mail reader / app store / etc.

And AOSP is one heckuvalot more than just a kernel.

Wait, what? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46239547)

Wasn't Android derived from Linux?

And isn't Linux GPL?

What's going on here? Why is Google allowed to limit what others can do with GPL code?

Re:Wait, what? (5, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | about 7 months ago | (#46239579)

Android is based on Linux. The Google apps are not. Despite what some people claim, not everything written for a GPL operating system must be open source.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 7 months ago | (#46239737)

Android is based on Linux. The Google apps are not. Despite what some people claim, not everything written for a GPL operating system must be open source.

I don't think the argument is that Google is doing something illegal. I think the question is are they being unethical. They've been trumpeting how open Android is, and their contracts basically say if you work with them you cannot treat it as an open system. They're acting as if Android is more like Linux, but in practice it's more like iOS. I can go check out the base source for iOS/OS X from source control too if I wanted (http://opensource.apple.com).

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240005)

Ha ha - see George Carlin skits and find out what he had to say about "Business Ethics" .

Re:Wait, what? (1)

technomom (444378) | about 7 months ago | (#46240577)

Wrong. That's not what this agreement says. Android is still open and OEMs are free to build out AOSP with their own apps.

What this says is that if you take the Google apps, you must include the whole package under the terms specified. That's all.

Sooo many posts here written by people who didn't actually read the article.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240275)

Despite what some people claim, not everything written for a GPL operating system must be open source.

But doesn't that closer to being true with GPLv3? Or you may say the noose is tightened.

In my very quick search, I couldn't tell if there's still the library provision, where just linking against libraries is allowed (as in GPLv2 and earlier).

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Grantbridge (1377621) | about 7 months ago | (#46239593)

All of Android is open source, except Google Play/Market, Gmail app, Google Maps, etc If you want your phone to have the Google App store, then you need to obey their terms and conditions. Just because the OS is open source doesn't mean any program which runs on it has to be. There are plenty of non GPL programs available for Linux! An android phone WITHOUT access to Google app store, Google Maps, Calender, Gmail etc isn't going to be much use to the majority of Android users. This is how Google controls Android.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239867)

Wait what, you're saying these apps are not open? But Google said it was!

Re:Wait, what? (1)

technomom (444378) | about 7 months ago | (#46240587)

No. Google never, ever said that their apps are open.

Android is open, not Google apps.

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | about 7 months ago | (#46239971)

The list of exception is rather significant: the missing apps are also the foundations of the API other apps uses. So you are not just missing out on the Google App Store and a few standalone apps, but all the API related to those apps too - which a very exhaustive list.

When people say "Android is open-source" that is not what they have in mind. In practice Android is open source like OSX is open source (Darwin), sure you get the foundations of a great system, but none of the shiny bits. So rather than a walled garden, you have a fenced garden. If you want freedom you need to look at Firefox and Ubuntu.

Have a look at the following doc for detailled discussion: http://arstechnica.com/informa... [arstechnica.com]

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Grantbridge (1377621) | about 7 months ago | (#46240139)

Wow, I didn't realise so much had been moved into the Google box from the Android box as time went on. Still, Amazon have produced an Android device without any of Google's bits, but its primarily an Ereader.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#46240285)

Oh, ease up on the hyperbole. There is no comparison between Darwin (the OSS part of Mac OS X) which is a bare bones GUI-less Unix-type OS, and AOSP (the OSS part of Android) which is a fully fledged entirely usable mobile operating system. You would not buy a computer intending to use it as your main desktop knowing it can only run Darwin. You might well buy a phone or tablet running AOSP however intending it to be your main phone or tablet. And people do.

What Google Play Services provides is:

- An app store.
- An additional set of APIs which exists primarily as a compatibility layer between different versions of Android
- Access to the Google App Suite, which require that framework and need to be downloaded via the Play Store.

Additionally Google has their own forks of several of AOSP's built-in apps, and no longer develops the AOSP versions - though they're still present. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on whether you really want, for example, your photo gallery integrated with Google+ (hell no), or your media player to automatically download songs from Google's Play Store (actually, that sounds useful. Shame the Google version of the music player sucks though...)

The Ars Technica article is somewhat hysterical and I was disappointed to read it. It hugely overstates the situation, portraying it as a conspiracy to take control over an OS that Google's been the lead developer on since the beginning. It ignores the success companies like Amazon are having with GMS-less Android.

Re:Wait, what? (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 7 months ago | (#46239601)

Wasn't Android derived from Linux?

Not in the sense you probably mean, no.

The Android kernel is a Linux kernel. That part is true. But, a Linux kernel is far from sufficient for building an Android device or running Android apps.

Google is not placing these restrictions on that part. The use of the Linux kernel does not spread virus-like to random other components of the distribution, so has pretty much no bearing on the stuff under discussion.

In practice, Android is not very open right now, and is very deliberately becoming less open over time. (This has both advantages and disadvantages.)

and why do people bash RMS again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240427)

Wasn't Android derived from Linux?

Not in the sense you probably mean, no.

The Android kernel is a Linux kernel. That part is true. But, a Linux kernel is far from sufficient for building an Android device or running Android apps.

Porbably slightly off-topic but isn't this the argument RMS used for 'GNU/Linux' instead of 'Linux'?

Captcha: persist

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239641)

Android is the Open Source part. This is the contract for the goodies on top of it that aren't so open. You want Google Maps you need to have the Play Store et al. You can use Android but if you want the Google goodies, you need to play by Google rules. No real surprise here.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46239955)

anyone can download and fork android
anyone except those licensing google apps and if you do license google apps you can't put any other third party search or location services other than google
and downloading android does not make an android phone since you still need to write drivers and ship it with some services for a user to use the device

Re:Wait, what? (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46240743)

"you can't put any other third party search or location services other than google"

  You absolutely can. you can not modify the Google apps.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#46240083)

While Android is open source, with you being able to use it as you please, their apps and services are not open source, and if you would like to use them, you'll need to sign their licensing agreement, which includes the limitations stated in the summary.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240725)

The tragedy of Linux and open source is the walled garden. Apple and Google have taken open operating systems and built walled gardens on top of them, exploiting today's freedom to destroy tomorrow's freedom.

Sadly, in the 80s and 90s, no one ever thought about walled gardens, and licenses weren't created to prohibit them. So now we have iOS, the Apple app store, Chrome books, Google Play, and so on built on top of an open source base. Countless amounts of DRM have been built in walled gardens which exploit open source.

Time Bombs (3, Interesting)

chaim79 (898507) | about 7 months ago | (#46239549)

Google calls out implanting "any viruses, worms, date bombs, time bombs, or other code that is specifically designed to cause the Google Applications to cease operating" as being banned in approved devices.

It's both interesting and very sad that this has to be spelled out in a license agreement, makes me think that they've run into OEMs purposefully building 'bombs' to keep people buying new phones.

Re:Time Bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239681)

Does creating code to delete/remove the Google app violate the EULA then?

I wonder how much of the EULA is enforceable.

Re:Time Bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239779)

Google calls out implanting "any viruses, worms, date bombs, time bombs, or other code that is specifically designed to cause the Google Applications to cease operating" as being banned in approved devices.

It's both interesting and very sad that this has to be spelled out in a license agreement, makes me think that they've run into OEMs purposefully building 'bombs' to keep people buying new phones.

It's to prevent a loophole where an OEM could ship a phone with all Google Applications, but disable something later. That would be if an OEM didn't want to follow Google's all or nothing policy, which has nothing to do with obsoleting the phone. Use your head.

FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (0, Flamebait)

bazmail (764941) | about 7 months ago | (#46239553)

Grow up Google is just as much of a greedy soulless cunt as Microsoft or Apple. Get over it.

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46239687)

I think you need to get over it. You seem hostile. Nothing in this agreement can be construed as 'evil' by any rational person. In fact, there are clauses specifically in there to prevent others from being 'evil'.

BTW: It's that language that makes women uncomfortable, grow up.

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (0)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 7 months ago | (#46239751)

Calm down preachy mcpreachy.

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 7 months ago | (#46239861)

Anything I don't like is evil, right?

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 7 months ago | (#46240225)

What's [newstatesman.com] wrong [sexloveliberation.com] with [msmagazine.com] "cunt" [cherishthecunt.com] ? I wouldn't use it in a professional setting; but let's face it, Slashdot is not that.

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46240751)

I don't know how to write it more simple then " It's that language that makes women uncomfortable"
Which word is too long or hard for you?

Re:FFS the "Don't be Evil" ship sailed years ago (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 7 months ago | (#46239711)

Funny how greedy google is when they give out more free stuff in a 6 months then apple has in 25 years.

"give" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240453)

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

I just wish you could uninstall Google apps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239587)

I just wish you could uninstall Google apps...even Microsoft allows you to skinny up its default OS installs nowadays.

Re:I just wish you could uninstall Google apps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239633)

Ever heard of Cyanogenmod?

Re:I just wish you could uninstall Google apps... (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 7 months ago | (#46239853)

I just wish you could uninstall Google apps...even Microsoft allows you to skinny up its default OS installs nowadays.

You can disable them, they don't get removed from the phone but they also don't run.

Hey, Google... (0)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46239591)

"Open"

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Hey, Google... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239611)

They're open as in the design, not open as in your mom's legs.

Re:Hey, Google... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46239817)

They're open as in the design, not open as in your mom's legs.

How droll. Witty repartee aside, would you care to explain exactly how mandatory design and operating restrictions make this an 'open' design?

Basically, Google is saying that nobody gets to place restrictions on their toys...except them, of course.

Re:Hey, Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239901)

For the same reason anarcho-capitalism doesn't work: if you make it completely free and uncontrolled, people will fuck it up and balkanize because that's how we are.

AOSP still exists and is under a less restrictive license. If you don't like Google's restrictions on the parts that are explicitly proprietary, use just AOSP-derived firmware like Cyanogen.

Re:Hey, Google... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46240175)

For the same reason anarcho-capitalism doesn't work: if you make it completely free and uncontrolled, people will fuck it up and balkanize because that's how we are.

AOSP still exists and is under a less restrictive license. If you don't like Google's restrictions on the parts that are explicitly proprietary, use just AOSP-derived firmware like Cyanogen.

Oh, I don't disagree...but then that is, by definition, not an 'open' design. It's a closed fork of an originally open design.

It's like if someone took Debian and mandated certain repositories, Firefox and a KDE interface out of the box, and hey, if you want to use our repositories at all, you can't change that. Sure you can go ahead and roll your own, the core system is still open, but you're not allowed to tweak our distribution. Sure you can add other repositories, install Chrome, etc. but you *have* to keep Firefox available and use KDE, at least initially.

Sorry, that philosophy is not compatible with the term 'open source'. Sure, open source has its challenges, but that's part of the culture.

Re:Hey, Google... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46239789)

They are open. In fact, if you got off the high horse, brushed the chip off your shoulders, and then read those agreement you might note that this is actually a very good thing.

They are taking step to prevent the manufacturers from using the apps to limit the users.

Remember, it' about apps, not android.

Re:Hey, Google... (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 7 months ago | (#46239793)

People complain when there's fragmentation, people complain when there's an effort to prevent it.

The platform is still open, but Google's services and ownership of the Play store is not. You can make an Android phone, fork it and do whatever you want, but if you want to run it on the Play store and Google Maps, whatever, you have to agree to the rules. Those rules, by the way, do a hell of alot to standardise and make the platform stable for developers.

Some people won't be happy until everything is completely gratis and uncontrolled, and we'll end up with the same mess we had with Symbian.

Re:Hey, Google... (4, Insightful)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46240055)

People complain when there's fragmentation, people complain when there's an effort to prevent it.

The platform is still open, but Google's services and ownership of the Play store is not. You can make an Android phone, fork it and do whatever you want, but if you want to run it on the Play store and Google Maps, whatever, you have to agree to the rules. Those rules, by the way, do a hell of alot to standardise and make the platform stable for developers.

Some people won't be happy until everything is completely gratis and uncontrolled, and we'll end up with the same mess we had with Symbian.

Fair enough, at least for the 'no forking' stipulation, but the whole requirement to pre-install all google apps if one only wants access to, say, the Play Store? And the mandatory submission of *very* granular sales data? How, exactly, do these stipulations contribute to platform stability?

I fail to see how it is different from the whole hullabaloo with Microsoft and Internet Explorer [wikipedia.org] , the outcome of which was:

Lawsuits brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, 18 states, and the District of Columbia in two separate actions were resolved through a Consent Decree that took effect in 2001 and a Final Judgment entered in 2002. These proceedings imposed various constraints on our Windows operating system businesses. These constraints include limits on certain contracting practices, mandated disclosure of certain software program interfaces and protocols, and rights for computer manufacturers to limit the visibility of certain Windows features in new PCs. We believe we are in full compliance with these rules. However, if we fail to comply with them, additional restrictions could be imposed on us that would adversely affect our business.

So, here we see MS originally taking the hard-line approach, then being forced to allow vendors to 'bury' Windows-specific features in favor of their own offerings. True, most new Windows PCs still ship with IE pre-installed and ready to go, but it's no longer up to MS to dictate that it shall be so.

LOL ... Nokia (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46239659)

So this is going to make Nokia doing an Android device even more awkward when Microsoft finishes the purchase.

Because no way in hell Microsoft are going to want that.

Re:LOL ... Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46239929)

You do realise that Microsoft get's more license fees from Android than from their own OS, right...? Do you seriously think, Nokia would release an Android Phone without clearing that with their new masters?

Re:LOL ... Nokia (1)

technomom (444378) | about 7 months ago | (#46240763)

Yup. It's also going to make life more difficult for Amazon and Samsung. But to me, this is a plus for most people who use the Android product, at least in the US.

It says that Samsung can't put its crap SVoice in place of Google Voice Search or ChatOn in place of Hangouts as defaults if they also want to include YouTube or the Play Store. It pretty much says that Amazon will have to buy into Google apps lock, stock, and barrel if it ever wants to bring back Google Search or enable Google Maps on Kindle Fire devices. As for Microsoft, it says that if they are even considering doing an Android phone, they'll have to build out their own ecosystem of apps and services unless they're okay with Google apps to be front and center. The services are a huge part here, if you don't think so, consider that Amazon effectively built their own workalike version of Google Services, and even that's pretty back level now, but was an essential part of making Kindle Fire somewhat successful. Personally, I think it would be very cool if Microsoft did an MS build of Android apps. They're the most likely company to actually do it well, but I'd be surprised if their stockholders had the intestinal fortitude to take that risk. We'll see.

As an Android user, I'm actually pleased with this decision because while I personally like Samsung phones, I hate the crap that passes for Google workalike apps on it. It's also high time that Google uses some of its own might to bring some order to the Android universe.

True lovers of pure Android can keep building on it. They are welcome to build on its open platform, and build their own apps. More power to them if they can build Search, Maps, video service, etc. that are on par with Google's. That would be great. Competition is good. But cherry picking Google apps or including outdated versions or worse, cheap imitations is not good.

You don't have to have google apps in your droid. (4, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#46239701)

http://www.jolla.com/ [jolla.com] - for example - is one example of a vendor selling a phone that can run android apps - on top of 'normal' linux - without preinstalling the normal google play market. (because they can't - as what they are doing in making the linux side more open means it's not vanilla android anymore)

Re:You don't have to have google apps in your droi (1)

Threni (635302) | about 7 months ago | (#46239997)

I refer you to the first sentence of TFA:

> If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to licence them

Slow day? (3, Insightful)

aergern (127031) | about 7 months ago | (#46239725)

Why is this news? This has been known for a very, very long time.

Android is Android and Google apps are Google's apps.

I guess folks really are as stupid as they appear.

What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 7 months ago | (#46239819)

I use Android. I think the Maps app is pretty good. I like it. That's the one I would miss.

Other than that.. nothing. There just aren't any Google apps or services(*) which matter. I think OEMs are over-agonizing on this. Just don't sign the contract, and your phone will be nearly as good as all your competitors in most ways, and better in other ways.

When people say "Android isn't really free, because..." please don't finish your sentence with a list of pretty much worthless (or trivially-replaced) stuff-that-isn't-free. That's almost like complaining "I tried switching my uranium enrichment plant to ReactOS but it wasn't compatible with Stuxnet, so I switched back to Windows."

Except for that Maps thing. But maybe someone else has a mapping (native, not web) app that uses OSM by now. Haven't looked. That'd be hilarious if the list of precious Google apps was zero items long instead of one.

* Services: well ok, of course I still do use Google for searching the web. They are definitely still best (and by a wide margin, it's not even close) whenever I do the blind test. But my computer's maker didn't need any license for that. Any web browser will do. That's my (the user's) problem, not the phone maker's problem.

Re:What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (1)

robmv (855035) | about 7 months ago | (#46239987)

The Play Store, it is the #1 application OEMs need, unless you are a Chinese OEM where you have a big market with established alternative stores. And Android device without the Play Store is like a Windows Phone without applications. Amazon store is a joke for OEMs because it is only available in selected markets and with the current economics of hardware manufacturing, you win money only at large scales, selling only on Amazon markets will not work for them

Re:What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (2)

mspohr (589790) | about 7 months ago | (#46240041)

Here's a list of about 100 Android apps which use Open Street Map...
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/... [openstreetmap.org]

And, of course, navigation:
https://play.google.com/store/... [google.com]

Re:What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 months ago | (#46240325)

I tried Google Maps a bit, and then switched to OSMAnd. It was about the only Google app I used, although I don't know if the Android Browser is developed anymore now that Google has shifted all of their focus to Chrome. I would love to be able to get a reasonable Android phone with F-Droid installed as the default market and no Google stuff.

Re:What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (2)

hax4bux (209237) | about 7 months ago | (#46240683)

Google maps will not work without Google Play

Oh NOW we care about fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240231)

Google doesn't want people forking Android, though they had no problem forking Java to create it

Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46240329)

The whole reason to fork a project is because some dickhole in control of the project who refuses to implement your feature/fix/patch. Now Google is effectively saying, "We will decide everything".

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