Android’s Handset Partners Take Orders From Google’s Andy Rubin

Android boss Andy Rubin apparently tells handset partners what they can and can’t put into their phones. This is the latest bit of news to surface in Android’s struggle to decide whether it wants to be open source or economically viable.

This Is My Next ploughed through all 750 pages of unsealed court documents, which include emails where Andy Rubin directly tells leaders from Motorola and Samsung that they can’t release phones for reasons involving their GPS technology (which interfered with Google’s ability to collect data). Presumably, these handset makers had much to lose, including early access to new versions of Android.

The full article has the full rundown of every instance in which Rubin put the clamps on handset partners, but can essentially be boiled down to this single statement at the end:

At the very least, it’s now extremely clear that Google plays a major role in Android device development, to the point where Andy Rubin himself approves and denies requests from OEMs. It’s also clear that Google places tremendous value on collecting location data, and it acted swiftly when it determined Skyhook’s deal with Motorola might threaten its ability to collect that data.

This revelation directly relates to the lawsuit Google is facing from Skyhook, who claim they had their location technologies squeezed out of Android devices by Google. Wouldn’t it be easier for Google to pull the curtain back and just drop the whole open source ethos? [This Is My Next]