Internal emails from Google manager suggest Android isn’t so open

The “is Android open?” question is one that constantly fades in and out of focus on blogs and in the tech media. The latest snippet that will undoubtedly reinvigorate the argument was revealed this past weekend, and this time it’s not a pretty one for Google. As part of Skyhook Wireless’ lawsuit against Google, which alleges that the company interfered with a contract that placed its services on Android phones sold by Motorola, several internal emails have been made public by a Massachusetts state court. Collectively, the emails provide various insights into the business strategies employed by Google’s Android team. One email in particular, however, is attracting a great deal of attention. In it, Android Open-Source & Compatibility Program Manager Dan Morrill writes, “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want.” In other words, we’re brought right back to the earlier revelation that Android partners can do whatever they want with the platform, but only those that play ball with Google’s compatibility requirements get preferential treatment, such as early access to new Android builds. Of course this time, the sentiment comes straight from the horse’s mouth in a relatively gruff manner, which doesn’t exactly do a service to Google’s repeated “open” claims.

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