Alibaba: Google forced Acer to drop our new mobile OS

The China-based company says Google threatened to pull its Android support from Acer if Acer pursued Alibaba's Aliyun operating system.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Google is allegedly playing hardball with its Android partners.

The company forced Acer to drop its support of Alibaba's new mobile operating system, Aliyun, threatening to pull its Android-related cooperation and support if Acer didn't, according to a report from the Dow Jones Newswires.

Acer was originally scheduled to hold a press conference today to show off a smartphone running on Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba's Aliyun platform, but it cancelled the event. Acer told Dow Jones that it will continue to talk with Google and hopes to still use Aliyun.

Alibaba told CNET that Acer was notified by Google that it would cease their partnership if Acer supported Aliyun.

"Our partner 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," according to a statement e-mailed to CNET. "We respect and understand our partner's decision to postpone the introduction of the phone, and are dismayed by the impact this dispute has had on our partner."

CNET has contacted Google and Acer for comment. We'll update the story when we get a response.

Google's Android operating system already dominates the market, and the company apparently wants to keep it that way. Alibaba is seen as China's version of Google, so it makes sense that Alibaba would want to emulate the strategy of creating its own mobile operating system.

Acer, a Taiwanese manufacturer of phones and PCs, was a logical choice to sign on to support the platform . Acer had said that the phone would go on sale in China on Friday.

If Alibaba's claim is true, the fact that Google would go to such lengths to stamp out a potential rival would speak to the intensity of the competitive smartphone environment. It would also illustrate the influence Google holds in the mobile industry and with its players.

Updated at 11:41 a.m. PT: to include a statement from Alibaba.

About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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