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Skyhook Wireless Sues Google Over Anti-Competitive Practices 228

dwightk writes "According to a lawsuit brought by Skyhook Wireless, Google allegedly forced Motorola, among other Android handset makers, to use Google's own location services instead of alternatives like Skyhook's. Quoting the lawsuit: 'In complete disregard of its common-law and statutory obligations, and in direct opposition to its public messaging encouraging open innovation, Google wielded its control over the Android operating system ... to force device manufacturers to use its technology rather than that of Skyhook, to terminate contractual obligations with Skyhook, and to otherwise force device manufacturers to sacrifice superior end user experience with Skyhook by threatening directly or indirectly to deny timely and equal access to evolving versions of the Android operating system and other Google mobile applications.'" John Gruber points out another interesting excerpt from the complaint regarding Google's procedure for determining Android compliance, which includes what Skyhook calls an "amorphous outline of additional, non-standardized requirements" that "effectively gives Google the ability to arbitrarily deem any software, feature or function 'non-compatible.'"
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Skyhook Wireless Sues Google Over Anti-Competitive Practices

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  • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:39AM (#33610280) Journal

    They haven't been found guilty yet. Totally agree with the sentiment of your post mind you, I
    just think it's worth taking a wait and see approach on this one...

  • Re:Fanboys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zombieChan51 ( 1862028 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:44AM (#33610326) Homepage
    Why don't we just wrap it up and say most companies are evil. The bigger they are the more unethical stuff we'll point out. Sure Microsoft has done unethical stuff, but it's ran by people. People are greedy and will do anything to get richer. Google is ran by people, thus they're greedy.
  • Scope Creep (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ipeunipig ( 934414 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:50AM (#33610376)

    "effectively gives Google the ability to arbitrarily deem any software, feature or function 'non-compatible.'".

    How is this different from what other companies do in their 'App Approval' process? It seems to me that this lawsuit may cross into other areas if Google is found guilty.

    Scope Creep applies in more areas than software development!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:50AM (#33610382)

    +4 Interesting? Are there really that many tin foil hats on slashdot?

  • Whackos... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:52AM (#33610402)

    can find a conspiracy theory in everything... I swear...

  • Re:Me too! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:06AM (#33610550)

    No, you are getting 'stuff' for selling your private information. Nothing in the corporate world is free...

    Yes, I'm an absolute Google fanboy. I like getting cool stuff for free (especially when you can't buy it anyway) ;)

  • Re:Fanboys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:14AM (#33610634) Homepage Journal

    I don't see the evil side yet. Google shouldn't be forced to make their Maps application compatible with every location service out there. Why don't Skyhook work with other mapping software manufacturers, or roll their own?

    If they are actively stopping Skyhook's software from working on the device then that is evil, but Google shouldn't be forced to integrate Skyhook with Maps any more than MS should be required to make IE compatible with Firefox plugins, or provide an OpenGL mode for all their games. They're free to do it if they want, but they don't have to.

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:17AM (#33610664) Homepage
    What did Google do yesterday? What did they do the day before? Perhaps you could share a calendar showing the other 5 things they've done in the last 7 days?

    Isn't it just so very fashionable to proclaim the burgeoning evil of Google these days.

    A competitor has accused Google of something. Perhaps, we should wait and see if it is true? When Microsoft said Linux was using its patents without permission did we just accept it as fact? The /. view certainly seemed to be put up or shut up.

    Google offers a mobile platform that you can use without paying them. Even if they did require that it came with their map program is that really 'evil'? Sure, we'd like everything 100% free and optional but that doesn't make 99% free and optional 'evil'.

    Is it an act of evil if I give £1,000 to a foreign aid charity and ask that the money not be used to promote 'organic' farming? I'm sure they'd appreciate complete freedom, but I doubt they'd think I was on a slippery slope to pure evil.
  • Re:Scope Creep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:24AM (#33610752) Journal

    The core OS is open, the Android Market and the Google Apps are not. Just because most of the big
    phone manufacturers seem too lazy to try and compete with Google's complete stack doesn't preclude
    the fact that they are welcome to take the Android OS, do whatever they want to it short of using
    the Google name and apps, and sell that instead. You can build on OS on Darwin and give it away or
    sell it but you can't call it Mac X or Apple This. That doesn't make Darwin any less open.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:36AM (#33610896)

    Force: 4: power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power. 6: persuasive power; power to convince

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:46AM (#33611010)

    Not yet, but getting there. Giving past examples, remember Apple was the white knight of /. from circa 2000 - 2005, and then there was the Linux flavor of the year until that flavor gets too 'popular' or too 'successful' at which point the /. moves to support another flavor etc., I give it at least another year, maybe two before Google is considered the new "evil". I'm not sure who will replace them as the new "white knights". Maybe the folks with Meego?

    I mean seriously I remember when RH got started and the rah, rah cheerleading people here gave RH. "See someone can make a commercial linux and be sucessful!". They they actually became successful and then SuSE became the next big thing(tm). Then SuSE started to be successful, got bought out by Novell and then the community went, "look at Debian, it is the ONE TRUE LINUX (tm)". It started to be successful and then came Ubuntu. Now Ubuntu's successful and you are starting to hear the complaints of "Well it's controlled by one man's vision" and "They don't give enough back."

    I've seen it enough now that I've come to the conclusion that there is a large group of people here who just hate success.

  • Re:FUD (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @11:03AM (#33611202)
    I'm no Android developer but it should be quite possible to add a supported third-party location service by deriving from the LocationProvider class in Android's location API. My guess is, like most lawsuit-happy companies of its kind, Skyhook's service was non-conforming... an external library that didn't integrate with the provided OS facilities. Apps that used the standard Android location framework and didn't directly rely on the Skyhook lib would have broke. Instead of fixing the issue like any normal developer would, Skyhook felt entitled to destroy the quality of other apps -- and by association, Android itself -- just as long as its own location service worked correctly. But that's only my guess.
  • by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @11:22AM (#33611398)

    You don't get anywhere by suing companies that decide not to use your product. The Google situation is not at all similar -- the allegation is that Google PREVENTED Motorola from using Skyhook's product.

    I see a lot of dumb comments above about how Google shouldn't be forced to integrate Skyhook's location services, but this isn't about Google integrating Skyhook's location services. This is about Motorola choosing to use Skyhook on Android, and Google refusing to allow it.

  • Re:Fanboys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mikechant ( 729173 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @11:58AM (#33611790)

    Supposing the "conversation" was to remind Motorola that *they* were breaching their contract with Google in relation to the non-free google services bundle, and that this contract pre-dated Motorola's contract with Skyhook? In that case, Google has done nothing wrong.

  • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:29PM (#33612856) Homepage

    George Tenet
    was on
    "The Daily Show" (2007-05-08)
    Jon Stewart
    who was on
    The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008)
    Kevin Bacon

  • Re:Utterly False (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:43PM (#33614946)

    Finally someone who is not biased at all!

    Nice sig, by the way.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam