Google will be compelled to keeping Android as free and open as it is now for another five years, it has emerged, after Chinese authorities imposed conditions on the search giant’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
The Chinese regulator approved the £7.9 billion purchase on the proviso that Google does not move to shore up its famously open operating system.
The move is thought to be aimed at ensuring that the wave of Chinese phone-makers now getting on board with Android retain access to the platform.
Although it’s improbable that Google would ever seek to impose huge restrictions, it has done so in the past. Most notably when it permitted only some partners access to the source code for the Honeycomb iteration of Android.
Google’s purchase of Motorola was initially thought to be aimed at reducing its reliance on the likes of HTC and Samsung by furnishing the company with the capacity to make its own handsets.
However, latterly industry received wisdom increasingly sees the deal as engendered by Google’s need to acquire Moto’s long-held patents for smartphone technology.
These will likely be critical in Google’s ongoing courtroom contretemps with Apple, which alleges that Android infringes on its patents.
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