Acer was planning on launching a low-end phone in China running Aliyun OS, a Linux based operating system that's only relevant to us because it wasn't Android. The phone was meant to be cheap and affordable and was targeted for China. But that phone is no more. Why? Because Google killed it. What?
It's an extremely weird situation. According to Reuters, Acer had teamed with Alibaba, an e-commerce firm in China, to make a phone that used the Aliyun OS. They were set to announce it to a bunch of foreign journalists but once people started showing up for the event, they were barred from the venue because the launch of the phone had been abruptly shut down. Why the cancellation? Alibaba said:
"Our partner received notification from Google that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer."
Wait... what? Yes. Google supposedly threatened Acer that if they released a phone on another OS, that they would pretty much not be allowed to make Android phones again. That's not exactly "don't be evil". What about Google's other Android partners who make Windows Phones? Will Google strong arm them as well? This situation being in China doesn't affect us immediately but it does set an alarming and troubling precedent. Google is becoming the bully it pretended it would never be. [Reuters, WP Central]
Update: MarketingLand got a statement from Google. The Mountain View-based company said it stopped Acer from making the Aliyun OS phone because Acer is a member of the Open Handset Alliance. The statement:
Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers.
Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices.
This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.