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Google Apps License Forbids Forking, Promotes Google Services 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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Google Apps License Forbids Forking, Promotes Google Services

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  • Antitrust (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aphor ( 99965 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @02:00PM (#46239475) Journal
    Tying apps to phones might be illegal by Sherman Act: using dominance in mobile device OS market as leverage in the device app market.
  • Time Bombs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chaim79 ( 898507 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @02:10PM (#46239549) Homepage

    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:Antitrust (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @02:10PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @04:41PM (#46240731) Homepage

    The official position of the U.S. Department of Justice [] 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 [] (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.

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