Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has developed quite a lto of influence in the smartphone market with its Android operating system, which by last count makes up two-thirds of the current landscape. But there is a question whether that influence might be abused, and there is a recent example of how that influence might be wielded when working with partners.
Acer, the Taiwanese PC and smartphone hardware maker which has been a partner of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and has used the Android OS for many of its recent devices. But Acer was preparing to announce a new device launch with Chinese internet firm Alibaba, which has its own mobile operating system called Aliyun. Acer was due to hold a press conference in Shanghai Thursday to announce a new Aliyun-based smartphone, but cancelled it at the last minute when Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) allegedly threatened to pull its Android support and resources if Acer went forward with Alibaba. The smartphone, called the CloudPhone A800, was due to go on sale in China Friday.
“Acer will continue to communicate with Google and the company still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba software,” said an unnamed official at Acer.
While Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has not yet commented officially, an official with Alibaba said “(Acer) was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android- related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner. … We regret Google’s action.”
How Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) will come out of this situation in terms of public image, and how it will manage its partnerships will be something to be watched by investors in Google stock, like hedge-fund manager Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC. Would you support a company which takes such an aggressive stance?