Faced with Google's $ 5 billion cartel decision this week, we've noticed some classic social media Ars story. Google's methods of controlling the open source Android code and discouraging Android forks are just the kind of behavior that the EU has a problem with, and many of the techniques described in this 2013 article are still used today.
The idea of a sequel to this piece has come a few times, but Google's Android strategy of an open source base paired with key proprietary apps and services has not really changed in the last five or so years. Updates have been made to Google's proprietary apps, which are different from the screenshots in this article. However, the basic strategy described here is still very relevant. In light of recent developments in the EU, we are restoring this story for the weekend. It first ran on October 20, 201
3 and seems largely unchanged – but we've added a few "In 2018" updates wherever they've felt particularly relevant.
Six years ago, in November 2007, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was unveiled. The original iPhone came out only a few months earlier, capturing the imagination of people and ushering in the era of the modern smartphone. While Google was an app partner for the original iPhone, it was able to see what the future of unaudited iPhone competition would look like. Vic Gundotra recalled Andy Rubin's initial sound for Android:
He argued that if Google did not act, we would face a draconian future, a future in which a man, a company, a device, a carrier would be our only Choice would be
Google feared that Apple would eventually rule the mobile sector. So in order to help in the fight against the iPhone, when Google still had no phone, Android was launched as an open-source project.
At this time, Google had nothing, so no adoption – no market share – was welcome. Google chose to distribute Android for free and use it as a Trojan for Google services. It was thought that if Google's search was locked out of the iPhone one day, people would stop using Google Search on the desktop. Android was the "moat" around the Google search "lock" – it would exist to protect Google's online real estate in the mobile world.