Google Responds To Cyanogen Uproar

If you haven’t heard about the cease and desist letter that Google sent to famed Android OS modder Cyanogen, I suggest you read up before continuing this post. Google has posted a “response” of sorts, hoping to clear the air of their good name in light of “misconceptions” amidst the criticism. Here is an excerpt of that response, posted by Dan Morrill on the Android Developers Blog.

dan-morrell

Everyone knows that mobile is a big deal, but for a long time it was hard to be a mobile app developer. Competing interests and the slow pace of platform innovation made it hard to create innovative apps. For our part, Google offers a lot of services — such as Google Search, Google Maps, and so on — and we found delivering those services to users’ phones to be a very frustrating experience. But we also found that we weren’t alone, so we formed the Open Handset Alliance, a group of like-minded partners, and created Android to be the platform that we all wished we had. To encourage broad adoption, we arranged for Android to be open-source. Google also created and operates Android Market as a service for developers to distribute their apps to Android users. In other words, we created Android because the industry needed an injection of openness. Today, we’re thrilled to see all the enthusiasm that developers, users, and others in the mobile industry have shown toward Android.

With a high-quality open platform in hand, we then returned to our goal of making our services available on users’ phones. That’s why we developed Android apps for many of our services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Voice, and so on. These apps are Google’s way of benefiting from Android in the same way that any other developer can, but the apps are not part of the Android platform itself. We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals. Either way, these apps aren’t open source, and that’s why they aren’t included in the Android source code repository. Unauthorized distribution of this software harms us just like it would any other business, even if it’s done with the best of intentions.

If I had to sum up each paragraph in one sentence it would be:

  1. The mobile industry sucked so we made Android and now the world is awesome
  2. We built applications for Android that are separate entities from the OS itself… they are just apps you would find from any developer on the market and we negotiate business deals if companies want them pre-installed on the phone

He then goes on to conclude:

I hope that clears up some of the confusion around Google’s apps for Android. We always love seeing novel uses of Android, including custom Android builds from developers who see a need. I look forward to seeing what comes next!

He officially APPROVES of these custom builds of Android, but when Cyanogen includes GMail/YouTube/GTalk and other Google applications in his ROMs for free, it hurts their business. How? Because Google is making deals with carriers and manufacturers who likely have to PAY to feature these Google applications pre-installed on their phones and advertise/market that these are included.

It is all about legalities. And a HUGE part of the legal system is setting precedence. I assume that Google was afraid it let Cyanogen continue to cook up these custom ROMs with Google applications baked in, they would lose the right and authority to prevent carriers and manufacturers from featuring Google applications on their phones by default.

This brings up a couple more interesting questions:

What about the Motorola CLIQ?
A few days ago we saw the Motorola CLIQ claiming it would come with a TON of pre-installed apps. When Motorola got wind of the word getting around, they removed the content from their website and now the CLIQ doesn’t show ANY apps pre-loaded. I’m assuming that is because they have to play by the same rules as Cyanogen. They can’t just include applications on their phones pre-installed without permission or an agreement. And from the graphic we posted… I’m just not so sure Motorola had worked out agreements for every last one of them to put it lightly.

How does this change the Mod community for the future?
One could easily argue that custom ROMs feature HTC Sense, MOTOBLUR and other custom versions of Android are absolutely 100% illegal to distribute. HTC and Motorola work hard on creating these softwares and offering them for free – so you can download them and use them on any Android phone when you didn’t pay a dime – amounts to nothing more than pirating. Please read that previous statement in terms of how one COULD potentially view the situation, not necessarily how I feel or any company mentioned feels.

Whether you like it or not this is a turn for the worse for Android… but it was a road we were going to HAVE to go down sooner rather than later. And in all honesty, it is probably better that Google nipped it in the bud and filed the C&D themselves instead of a billion smaller companies tossing lawsuits here and there and everywhere. In fact, Google probably saw the issue with Cyanogen as an opportunity to set the record straight so it could protect its partners and allies in the OHA. In other words, you could say that Google “took one for the team” by agreeing to look like the bad guy and formally intervene.

So now what?
I have no clue. This is a pretty vague yet reasonable response from Google. This is the exact reason that I tried to show restraint in my original post on the topic. The initial idea is to flip out and go bananas about how this is a violation of trust in the Open Source community yada yada yada – which many people did. But there is a lot more to it than that and I think anyone looking at this issue objectively would agree.

I’ll be trying to get in touch with Cyanogen and a rep from the Android team to hopefully clarify how this affects the future and what will/won’t be allowed. In the meantime, try to relax. Android is still – by far – the best mobile platform on the planet… and I’m sure there is a happy medium we’ll all be able to find once this whole thing plays out.

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  • http://erlern.wordpress.com Er Lern

    Thanks for the well written response to the whole issue. It certainly helps to bring some objectivity to the whole thing.

  • http://schwiz.net schwiz

    google is being stupid on this big time,
    this is a major set back to the android community and cyanogenmod makes android usable, I went through the trouble of rooting my phone for the simple reason that I wasn’t happy with its performance and space for applications.
    Cyanogen fixed both of these issues, and developers response to these requests on the official android group is ‘fix it yourself its not important to us’ thats paraphrased. They forgot to mention that if you fix it yourself its against the law to use the apps your phone came with.

  • AGx-07_162

    What bothers me is that they say they made some of their apps available via the market such as Google Maps (i haven’t personally seen any others on the market that have also come stock on a device) and are free yet they feel it will hurt their business to have them distributed freely. I dont understand that concept.

    Cyanogen has never included any paid apps in his ROMs and I would also assume that if any of these apps that wouldn’t come stock on a device and also showed up as paid apps in the market, would also not be something Cyanogen would include in his ROM.

    I’m not a Dev myself but if it is at all possible to develop the ROM without these specific apps I say we should.

  • toots

    quite right.

  • jowens

    One thing I’d really like to know is what exactly this covers. What apps/code are we unable to include in custom roms? Is there a path for users to take so that we can get access in a proper manner to the apps involved? More importantly, does it involve paying for applications we already paid for as part of our phone’s purchase price?

  • Bernal

    Based on what Cyanogen is saying they told him, Google is leaving absolutely zero room for a mod community to exist legitimately. They are even saying users don’t have a right to move the Google apps from their stock roms to the modded roms. That’s about as close to saying “screw you” to all the modders and users of mods as you can get. At this point Android is about as open as the iPhone for all practical purposes.

    If Google doesn’t find a way to resolve this by Oct 11th, there will very likely be an unclaimed Hero at my local BestBuy.

  • jowens

    Yeah I’m watching the tweets roll in and it doesn’t look promising but it’s still vague at the moment whether it’s possible or not to have a mod community. The modification possibilities were my primary excitement in picking up android and promoting it like mad.

  • Alex

    You don’t have me convinced.

    Fact is, Cyanogen is simply modifying the Google based ROM that is already on the phone.

    In other words, he’s pulling the ROM off the phone, making changes to it, then putting it right back on. So to act as though he is distributing some special release and pirating Google Apps is just absurd.

    The phones that are running Cyanogens ROMs, ALREADY HAD THE GOOGLE APPS.

    Whether it’s legal or illegal, it’s irrelevant, it’s just bad business in this case. The same way Microsoft isn’t going after the community that cooks up Windows Mobile ROMS.

    Here’s the thing, the same people that are flashing ROMs, are flat out, the largest community of positive word of mouth for Google based devices, they are all raving about it, telling their friends to get one, leaving good reviews on websites, etc.

    Google is biting the hand that feeds them on this, and my Cyanogen based G1 will be the absolute last Android based phone I use, back to Windows Mobile for me.

  • Brahmson

    The app market does not include some of these google applications (i.e. Gmail, Google Talk) so if they are not distributed with the modified rom the user will end up with a significantly inferior phone, practically defeating the reason for an alternate rom (and google can close the few remaining workaroud to get these apps).

    So legal issues aside, it appears that Google is trying to control the market and the user experience in the very same way Apple does.

    This opens the door for for Apple to go back to the FCC and say that they are not controlling the iPhone market more than Google does the Android app market. Google may have been penny wise and pound foolish. They thought they shot Cyanogen, buy may have shot themselves in the foot.

  • jvincent

    Right now it’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario for ROM developers.

    The “safe” route appears to be simply don’t include any Google apps in your ROM and let users install them. There are other email apps, and Google makes maps available on the Market. But there’s the problem. The Market itself is a Google app (as I understand it) so how do you create a ROM that can access the Market.

    Will Google make all of their apps available for download somewhere? What about the mods based on HTC (or other) source? Are they next to be shut down?

    Interesting times for sure.

  • Jim Philips

    Then that’s my “screw you” to Google. From this point on, I am dumping everything of theirs that I can. I should have know that, in the end, they would behave like the average corporate whores that they are. But I didn’t want to believe it.

  • http://s. IConrad01

    Definitely, the course Google is taking here is only going to cost them business. These are not merely user-experience enhancements we’re talking about here. We’re talking about Google cutting off access to any Google-related features whatsoever. This includes the Android App Market. Your contacts syncing.

    It’s just plain backwards. To claim that the Market app is something that isn’t a *core* piece of the Android experience is… well, it’s just plain silly. And worse yet, it’s only costing Google business.

    Here’s to hoping that they realize that they’re shooting themselves in the foot here. I know that I, for example, am just one of perhaps //tens of thousands// of customers whose next phone will be a Moblin-powered device rather than anything Android.

  • Héctor

    “One could easily argue that custom ROMs feature HTC Sense, MOTOBLUR are absolutely 100% illegal to distribute.” Did anyone ever doubt this? I hope not. It’s illegal unless HTC or Motorola state the opposite. I’m not completely sure (i’m not a lawyer of sorts), but extracting a binary from inside of a ROM taken from a phone or an updater is a kind of reverse engineering (usually forbidden by your phone contract).

  • CanDMan

    The fact is that the programs available in the market are not “open source” in general, and are owned by the company or person who created the program. That said, they have a right to charge for those programs. This isn’t about rooting, this is about intellectual property rights. Create your own code all you want, but don’t modify someone else’s code and distribute it as your own. I’m sure Cyanogen knows the difference between and open source platform and the pirating of intellectual property. I would hope they don’t complain about rooting, but protecting their code and trademarked services is to be expected and is standard. Nothing wrong here.

  • Marcelo L

    You know where this leaves us ?

    This leaves us with a situation where we can only speak through our wallets. If you own an Android phone…..purchase nothing through the Marketplace. And if you don’t have an Android phone…..as much as it pains me to say it….buy something else.

    As for me…I was SERIOUSLY going to ditch my Windows Mobile phone for Android…..now….methinks I’ll slog it through. App like gmail, maps…….geez Google, can you be THAT dense ? Partners licensing the tech should GET these apps as a GIMME, are you kidding me ?

    So where does this leave me…..me, I’m voting with my Wallet. MS will get my money ( ouch, that hurt ), because at least I know if I want to REALLY get what my phone can do, out of it…there’ll be a camp of modders out there who’ll continue to push the envelope of what THE PHONE SHOULD’VE SHIPPED WITH.

    ( sorry for Caps )

  • jonathan (the phantom)

    Hey I can’t believe google is dong to us, I pay my phone and I think they app u see on the market with price of “free” that’s what they are free so I don’t understand how google is loosing money because of a guy its workng his ***ss to fixe all the errors the developers from google make, besides I think u should learn from this guys and hire them cuz the phones with those roms (cyanogen) work great and offer a lots of more use to our lifes, u guys (from google) should be start using ur brains and try to leave the free developers keep with this amazing work, I’m so pissed

  • travis

    I have proposed a one day boycott ofor those using G phones as well as for those members of the Android Community that host Android sites. For one day we should turn off our phones, and take down our sites in a show of support for cyanogen, and to tell google there are better solutions than this one.

    I have also posted this on the xda forum, for those who are members and are interested go here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=564623&page=9

    post #84

  • mytouch

    Maybe they should push for the 2.0 update as soon as possible, the phone as it is is super slow, at least the iphone works as promised, this thing, unless rooted vis really frustrating, so much lag, I’m about to smash mine as I rype vthis because its so unresponsive

  • Héctor

    And about CyanogenMod and that, it’s clear what can be put and what cannot:

    – You can put in a custom build anything that sits in the public Android source repository (ie. the OS and the basic apps)
    – You can put anything that’s public (ie. found in the market or internet) and whose license doesn’t forbid binary redistribution
    – Anything else, you can’t

    I’ve taken a peek at the repository, and couldn’t find the Market sources, so market is left out too, apparently.

    @Brahmson
    That’s not an inferior phone, it’s the phone you bought. What if you buy an Archos 5 with android just to see they have an entirely different market? Who would you blame?

  • M. Holger

    There’s something fishy here. The end-run with “mobile” is to get your service on as many handsets as possible. Combine that with the fact that Google is primarily a service company – they don’t make money on their software, they make it on people who use their software. Claiming they don’t want their apps redistributed because it affects their revenue stream simply doesn’t make sense.

    Coming on the heels of the FCC investigation of Google, Apple and AT&T (primarily over Apple’s rejection of Google Voice in the App Store) tells me there’s something else afoot, and I don’t for one second believe it’s as altruistic as Google wants us to think.

    But, that’s just my $0.02…

  • M. Holger

    @alex – btw, CyanogenMod isn’t just a rip of the Google ROM from the phone; it’s largely built from the AOSP project code repository.

    That said, the future of CyanogenMod isn’t in too bad of shape. He can still build and ship a ROM without any legal ramifications, as the whole of the OS is available as Open Source. There are alternatives to the Market already (see SlideMe.com, for instance), alternative mail clients, etc. Things may need some tuning and it may not be an easy path – but the community (and the platform) would certainly benefit.

  • agoest

    confused !!!

    google vs public dev??

  • Ahmed.S

    Let’s see

    Gmail – Setup the email app to work with Gmail
    Youtube – No real alternative yet
    Google Maps – Just get Google Maps available via market)
    IM/Gtalk – Nimbuzz, palringo, etc

    These are the google apps already included in the CM builds.
    In all honesty, Google could have made a non-profit license available which could allow folks not benefitting from the apps to actually be able to use it. Or better yet, make those apps available via the Android Market.

    Nonetheless, after using CM’s builds, I do not think I can go back to using the Tmobile or Google roms, because they simply are not built for performance nor allow to install apps on the SDcard.
    I wouldn’t be up in arms about this, unless Google threatens our ability to root the device. But even then, google is the lesser of the two evils, unless M$ comes out with Winmo7 that allows all this and more, then we’d be shocked for real.

  • TG

    “but the apps are not part of the Android platform itself”

    Understood. However, thus far they’ve been delivered on every Android phone (including my G1, AKA the HTC Dream, AKA the Google Phone with the Google logo on the back) released thus far. If I do a factory re-set on the phone (my phone), they’re baked in and come back. For free.

    “We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals”

    Ok, so Google won’t be pre-installing the apps on some phones? The apps that provide the user with a direct channel and almost seamless integration into Google services? I know Google strives not to be evil, but it’s not a charity either. Why distribute and promote Android at all if not to get more users to admire your lovely contextual advertising?

    Any business deal where you’re submitting to the demands of a hardware manufacturer or (worse) a carrier is probably a bad one. Apple does both with the iPhone (it being the hardware OEM itself), and throws in a hacker- and developer-unfriendly ethic to boot.

    “Either way, these apps aren’t open source, and that’s why they aren’t included in the Android source code repository.”

    Again, understood. I don’t think Cyanogen is modifying those apps or has any reason to do so . All he’s done is make improvements to the open-source portion code.

    How about this, Google? Instead of opening things up with a make-work project from an in-house lawyer, have someone from the tech side contact and help Cyanogen incorporate something that allows a check if the phone hardware is the kind that originally shipped with the apps in question. If yes, capture and move them (or unlock them in the mod distro). If no, no apps for you.

    Or better yet, hire the guy who’s helped me extend the life of my phone, and allowed me to impress and evangelise about the benefits of Android. Two people I know have already bought Android phones (one of whom opened a gmail account to use it) after checking out my Cyanogen-powered device, where the performance default t-mobile software didn’t impress anyone.

  • Zapote21

    Bottom line:
    If Google had made 1.5 as great as Cyanogen made 1.5, then we wouldnt need Cyanogen…
    Maybe they are just jealous that ONE guy in his spare time can make a MUCH better ROM…LOL

  • twrock

    Google is “right” in the sense that they, and only they, have the right to distribute their proprietary applications. And in every respect, this is no different than any other Linux distro. You can mod any linux distro to your hearts content just as long as you do not include proprietary software in your distro. I don’t understand people feeling like they have the “right” to have anything that they didn’t buy or earn or was given to them. Google is just saying that Cyanogen does not have the right to distribute their proprietary software because it will end up on phones whose manufacturers did not purchase that software. The end user of that phone does not have the right to have that software free of charge, unless Google gives it to them.

    This day could have been foreseen a long time ago. As was mentioned above, this is the only way the companies that are putting their own modifications on top of Android can “add value” while protecting their investment. (HTC’s Sense UI immediately comes to mind).

    Cyanogen (or anyone) is free to modify all the opensource stuff in Android he wants to, in keeping with whatever license that software was released under (http://source.android.com/). Unfortunately, since his mods include the distribution of non-free/non-opensource software, what he is doing is technically illegal. Google has simply informed him that they are aware and have told him to stop. Nothing “evil” about that, but it may well be that there is a better way to work it out that benefits Google, Cyanogen and the end users. I hope so, because I am ready to purchase my first Android based phone, and I’d really like to be able to mod it. But even if I can’t, I still think it’s the best option for me (regardless of what CNET says).

  • twrock

    (Quick follow up after seeing all the posts that appeared while I was writing mine.)

    Have people somehow missed the main point that this is a business?!!! Google is a company that makes money (LOTS of money). Android is another way for Google to make money. They aren’t just doing this all out of the goodness of their hearts. If from the beginning they looked a the Android business plan and thought, “Cool, but this thing is only going to lose money for us in the long run and create no potential for a return on our investment,” Android would have never seen the light of day. Google (and the other companies involved in the OHA) aren’t going to allow something that has the potential to damage their business model. It’s naive to think otherwise.

  • http://www.myspace.com/olylifter Steve-O

    I agree with twrock,

    I am getting my Sprint Hero regardless of this. Some of you guys are just spouting nonsense. Gonna shoot yourself in the foot and buy windows mobile because Google wants to protect their IP? Really??? That is just biting off your own nose to spite your face. Just plain stupid. I will take my chances with Google, thank you very much!

  • clide

    Man, this is the most disappointed I’ve ever been with Google. I really wish they could work out a deal with Cyanogen, I would rather pay for it than lose it or lose the Google apps.

    With the T-mobile build the G1 is a mediocre phone. I think I would be just as happy with something else, but with Cyanogen’s build I am extremely happy with the phone because I get more space for apps, a faster phone, much better battery life, and frequent updates. If I have to go back to T-mobile’s builds to get Google apps then I don’t know that I will go with Android for my next phone. I also won’t be spending more money in the Android Market because I never have enough space for new apps on the limited internal memory.

    I think Google loses more by pushing forward with this than they gain with their “business deals” to include the apps.

  • B anon

    From what I understand there are 3 different licensing agreements

    1. android no google branding (???)
    2. google brand (G1, MyTouch….)
    3. google + manufacturer brand ( HERO, HTC Magic…)

    He can still distribute under the first license…. And the user would have to load what he is entitled to. Its not the end of the world… exept for lazy people that dont want to take the time to add the content. ADB push Pull and other way of getting the stuff on the phone.

    Google has no legal action against people that already have google experience or HTC google phones.
    It would be a problem for people in India that have no google license from what I understand…
    They can go after Cyan because he gives people access to those apps that they are not supoused to have. Just
    adb remount
    ADB pull /system/sd/app_s *google* c:\(backup)
    ##apps may be located in /system/app/ or /system/sd/app_s
    then install your MOD…
    adb shell
    mount /system/sd
    exit
    adb push c:\(backup)\*google* /system/sd/app_s or /system/app ## depends on the build
    reboot you phone
    if you didnt install right after the flash try this once the phone boots and the process is complete.
    ADB install c:\(backup)\*google* ## you may have to specify the apps by name.
    You get teh idea it can be done. They cant stop us. If microcrap hasnt been able to stop piracy thus far you think google will. LOL… Look at all the lawsuits aggainst the P2P apps does that mean file sharing warez doenst exist?

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  • B anon

    OMG this is hysterical….
    If you cant find it search Cyanogen…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZHT389eR4

    So sad but true…

  • JonB

    Nope. It’s still stupid. The apps aren’t being modified. The modders are not distributing source code. The modders pack everything so users don’t screw up their phones – and they improve the phone experience.

    Google are acting like they are awesome and no one else can be awesome – but we’re quite happy for you plebs to dabble around the edges and bask in our awesomeness.

    Let’s not mention that half of us can’t buy apps because of the screwy rules for setting up a region for paid apps. Google really haven’t got their sh*t together and are sh*t scared of losing control. I’ll be happy when we can scrape off the restrictive licenses if they’re going to play that way.

  • zer0-9

    What doesn’t make sense to anyone who actually knows about loading roms onto phones is that Cyanogen didn’t make roms that included the Google proprietary software for phones that didn’t already come with them. You can’t just grab a rom from Cyanogen’s web site and toss it onto the HTC Hero and have it work. However in future there may be certain versions of the same hard ware that don’t include these applications. The problem is that there is no real way for users to legally backup their google apps. Google has already demonstrated that they can prevent apps from appearing in the market based on your carrier. It shouldn’t be that difficult to “unlock” the proprietary apps for users who purchased phones with those applications.

    I understand the concerns of Google in the market at large and the licensing method they’ve presented manufacturers with. This however was not the way to address those concerns.

  • NRBovee

    “and I’m sure there is a happy medium we’ll all be able to find once this whole thing plays out.”

    It’s called the N900.
    http://flors.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/software-freedom-lovers-here-comes-maemo-5/

  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDscorch

    why doesn’t google put their apps up for sale on the market?

    let the mods make their ROMs (minus google’s copyrighted apps) and if ppl “want” the apps, they BUY the apps – !!

    problem solved!

  • Mitch

    I think I made sense of all this. I bet that Google is keeping their non-open apps (Maps, Market, etc) as ammo to negotiate with the hardware maker or even the carriers. I don’t know what they are getting in return. It could be money upfront, percent in revenue, http://www.google.com as the default home page, or whatever. As much as Cyanogen can benefit the platform, Google just can’t let Cyanogen redistribute the apps or they can’t use the apps in their negotiation.

    As much as I hate what’s happening, I think Google should be able to hold something back and benefit from it. After all, they as a company has given TONS of stuff away for free already and they need to pay all those Android engineers.

  • HMAcain

    to simplify the issue:

    the google apps are actually paid apps: carriers pay google to include them in their custom roms.

    I think the makers of paid android apps would do the same thing if a developer made a rom and installed a working paid version of their apps for free.

    that was the real issue, what complicated everything was cyanogen’s status as android’s robin hood of ROMs.
    Oh and Google opened a can of worms. :)

  • Thiago

    Android is dead, I’m going Maemo!
    Some parts are closed too, but the base is more standard linux. N900 was looking good, and it’s even better now.

  • Usman

    The fact of the matter is that Android was never as polished as the iPhone’s OS. The only thing it had going for it was the idea of openness and customization. Cyanogen’s modifications of the OS made it smoother, faster… more polished. Was it as polished as Apple’s OS? Nope. But it was OURS…and more importantly, it had the potential to be as polished.

    I really only started enjoying my G1 after rooting and flashing custom ROMs, including Cy’s. But if we’re stuck with the original ROMs in order to be able to sync with Gmail, contacts, etc… well then the incentive is gone.

    Maemo5 here I come! Just got my Ovi Mail account set up. Sorry Google… but you just shot yourself in the foot and you won’t realize it until handsets stop selling. All of us XDA modders that were promoting Android to EVERYONE were an asset to you, and you’ve turned us onto the street.

  • NRBovee

    The Google applications suck anyway. If they were to offer them as paid apps on the market, they’d go broke except maybe for Maps.
    The stock ROM is nothing short of garbage. Cyan gave it new life, and now they slap him down. One of the geniuses who gave it genuine credibility and they put him out of business.

  • onoezitasploded

    I’m totally sympathetic to HTC or whoever going after developers for cooking their proprietary roms for general public release– They spent a lot of money developing Sense or TouchFlo or whatever, and if it just gets ported to the G1 they lose money.

    But, I don’t see Google’s strategy in trying to restrict their apps– they want us to use their apps, right? I mean, yes, carriers are paying them for the privilege, but CyanogenMod has an estimated 30,000 users–in the context of 1 million G1s sold that’s nothing more than a niche market. And when you consider what the independent developer community has contributed towards the platform, I really think Google could just not be evil on this one.

  • BJNK

    Here’s the flaw in the whole “the carriers are paying, google is just protecting its investments etc”
    EVERY ANDROID PHONE ALREADY HAS THESE INSTALLED.
    That means you as the consumer has already paid the price for these programs. Installing a new ROM with these involved is no different than reinstalling windows and then reinstalling an app you bought, like photoshop for example.

    Am I right?

  • http://droidfeed.com Ivan Soto

    I think I’m one of the few that thinks Google is just protecting they commercial agreements.

    Nobody blames Apple for doing everything closed. I better don’t talk about Microsoft, yet when Google protects their closed software and commercial deals everyone seem to hate Google.

    I’m super disappointed about this and I was really enjoying custom Android builds but I understand how the commercial world works and Google is still part of it.

  • Kai

    As someone working in the mobile business, I’d like to point out a few things:

    1. It’s actually quite logical that the apps that can be free to download would cost manufacturer money when they are being preinstalled. Why? Because it’s one thing for an user download an app, and it’s quite another that a handset manufacturer preinstalled one and uses it as a selling point. As a matter of fact, my company often negotiates with companies making free apps where we will pay them royalties for the # of copies we preinstalled on handsets. And we do it for both the Android and J2ME/Java ME platforms, so it’s not something out of the norm.

    2. Have you ever consider the fact that a free app may NOT always stay free? Of course it’s Google’s apps that we are talking about here, so what’s free will probably stays free, BUT as is mentioned in this article regarding Motorola Cliq, there’s is a greater issue at hand.
    Imagine, from the user’s point of view, that one of the apps that comes with the phone one day suddenly stopped working and started asking you to pay for it to be working again, or that it suddenly start displaying advertisements, what would you feel? You would probably feel cheated as you think that all the apps should have been paid for when you paid for the phone (assuming they don’t have the “Trailer” word sticking everywhere in the first place). This then builds distrusts for the users regarding Android handsets.
    NOW, imagine from the developers’ perspective. How would you feel if after enabling advertisement on your app to finally recap your investment and maybe make some small bucks, you find yourself flooded with tens of thousands of screaming letters demanding you to remove the ads, because your app was put into a handset without your consent and the users feel that they are entitled to have your app ads-free simply because it’s being preinstalled and came with the phone. Would you then want to develop another app for Android knowing that the same thing may happen again?
    3. There WILL be Android handsets without ANY Google service preinstalled, I know that for a fact. And any ROM created from Android open source code will be completely and utterly LEGAL (contrary to what many are say here), and there will be ZERO lose of functionality. Is it ideal? No. Will it happen? Yes. So, again, this is simply not the end of the world, not even the Android world.

    The only reason why this is such a big deal is because 1. Google developed Android, 2. Google is re-enforcing its right against something many seen as a good thing for Android. But when everything considered, I think that as long as this incident doesn’t kill Android (and I don’t think it will), it will make the platform more secure and more friendly for would-be developers.

  • zefi

    I hope you people go get some law course or something before spewing all these nonsense. You’re making me confused.

  • http://Www.appleupgrade.co.uk Chronicfathead

    As people have already said, I think Google has to do this. They need to set a legal precident to stop anyone using closed apps like You Tube. They probably had an agreement with Apple for You Tube app, and can’t make it available for free. I think the community around Android will find a way round this, even if it involves creating another platform that will install on the Android hardware. If Android is open source, all someone has to do is add a link to a third party app store that is open. We might not have all the Google apps, but would you really miss a you tube app?

    Googles action will put people off the phone, but they probably had to do it. I for one will still move to the platform, as it is the most exciting one at the moment.

    Visit via phandroid.com

    I do think Google would benefit from closer contact with or hiring Cyanogen. They need to make the platform fast and cool, and Cyanogen is moving things that way faster than Google.

  • Chrigi

    I think Gizmodo’s Post and a comment on the slashdot post summed it up quite nicely:
    – Google has the right to shut down unauthorized distribution of their closed source apps. Everyone who has the slightest idea about Android knows that these Apps have nothing to do with Android per se but they make the source build worthwhile for the enduser.
    – Google does not HAVE TO defend their copyright but CAN if they want and probably WILL if they see some practices they do not fancy or if they see a financial/business loss. But the problem is: It looks like Google is doing this just because they can. For people who do not do business with Google it is not quite possible to see the reasoning WHY they are doing this. Where is the gain? Where is the loss of doing nothing to prevent it?

    It’s not like the custom ROM devs have cracked the app open and are reverse engineering their GMail API and distribute their findings.
    And why do they hit the small custom ROM community so hard? If it was a company who’s doing it and delivering phones without their consent it would be a different story.

    Like it is now it just seems like they want a small fraction of first generation Android users to stop using their apps. But isn’t the whole purpose of Android to bring the Google Services to the people? That’s what Google has built it for.

    As previously said, if HTC would make a fuss about custom HERO ROMs it would make sense but on nearly plain source builds with a couple of Google Apps they actually built for this kind of ROM it does not make too much sense.

  • http://www.systemorange.com Francis

    Sorry Google. I’ll give you the same answer I gave Apple when I left them for you. I bought my effing phone. I can do what the hell I want with it. I pay alot of damn money per month for the services too… on a continuing basis. It’s mine. If I wanna pee on it and crack the glass… I will. If I wanna stick it in an elephants butt… I will. If I wanna root it, slap on a ROM I will. You got your money. Now lemme have my toy.

  • http://www.systemorange.com Francis

    Frankly I don’t care much about the law. Google should do what’s right for it’s users seeing as how that’s how they line their pockets.

    99% of the people who get an Android based phone will get it through some subsidized plan meaning that all those phones will already come with the google apps pre-installed. If you then install a 3rd party ROM that has the same apps baked into it… what’s google losing out on??? It’s not as if we haven’t paid for it!

    They should be kissing Cyanogen’s butt for making such a popular ROM that drives people towards Android. They should hire him, give him a retroactive pay increase and buy him a nice new laptop to cook up more magic with in his new corner office.

    I’m getting a Blackberry next time. I’m Canadian anyways. I should have known better…

  • zefi

    @Googles action will put people off the phone, but they probably had to do it.

    Google’s action will put GEEKS and GEEKS-WANNABE off the phone.

    @I do think Google would benefit from closer contact with or hiring Cyanogen. They need to make the platform fast and cool, and Cyanogen is moving things that way faster than Google.

    Agreed. They might. Who knows.

    @Sorry Google. I’ll give you the same answer I gave Apple when I left them for you. I bought my effing phone. I can do what the hell I want with it. I pay alot of damn money per month for the services too… on a continuing basis. It’s mine. If I wanna pee on it and crack the glass… I will. If I wanna stick it in an elephants butt… I will. If I wanna root it, slap on a ROM I will. You got your money. Now lemme have my toy.

    I didn’t know they sent officers to your house…

    @what’s google losing out on??? It’s not as if we haven’t paid for it!

    Don’t worry about that, since like you said, you don’t care about the law.

  • AGx-07_162

    I agree with a lot of people on this issue. Android being an open platform is what drew me to it. Knowing I can modify it the way I please was the most attractive part. If they are just going to close the door or mods then all we are looking at is the stock crap the manufacturers give us and if thats as far as its going to go I might as well go back to WinMO.

  • Wow

    I am completely and utterly astonished on the number of people who have absolutely no idea what’s really going on (hint: Google is not disallowing custom Android ROMs! GEEEZ!), and yet is happy to jump out and throw their stones.

    Then again most people are more willing to speak their thoughts than to actually listen to what others have to say, so this post of mine probably will be read by 3 people, including myself.

  • G

    @CanDMan “That said, they have a right to charge for those programs.”

    Perhaps you are forgetting… ***I already paid*** for the programs in question. I bought the phone from my provider (T-Mobile) who paid for those, and now I am being told if I flash the firmware to a firmware that doesn’t have them its illegal for me to put them back on…

  • Jeroen

    @Usman
    “The fact of the matter is that Android was never as polished as the iPhone’s OS. The only thing it had going for it was the idea of openness and customization. Cyanogen’s modifications of the OS made it smoother, faster… more polished. Was it as polished as Apple’s OS? Nope. But it was OURS…and more importantly, it had the potential to be as polished.”

    You’re talking about Android in the past tense, as if it were abandoned by Google with no improvements/polishing to be expected. And without CM Android is still very customizable, much more than other OS’es.

    And sorry, but a couple of geeks switching to another platform is not going to affect overall sales much. The influence really isn’t that big sorry.

    So much drama…

    @NRBovee
    “The Google applications suck anyway. If they were to offer them as paid apps on the market, they’d go broke except maybe for Maps.”

    Seriously? The Gmail app is the best email client I ever used on any mobile platform.

    @Marcelo L
    “This leaves us with a situation where we can only speak through our wallets. If you own an Android phone…..purchase nothing through the Marketplace.”

    Yeah, that will really show Google…seeing as they don’t collect any of the revenue.

    “I have proposed a one day boycott ofor those using G phones as well as for those members of the Android Community that host Android sites. For one day we should turn off our phones, and take down our sites in a show of support for cyanogen, and to tell google there are better solutions than this one.”
    You rebel you!
    …grow up…

    @Francis
    “Sorry Google. I’ll give you the same answer I gave Apple when I left them for you. I bought my effing phone. I can do what the hell I want with it. I pay alot of damn money per month for the services too… on a continuing basis. It’s mine. If I wanna pee on it and crack the glass… I will. If I wanna stick it in an elephants butt… I will. If I wanna root it, slap on a ROM I will. You got your money. Now lemme have my toy.”

    You CAN do whatever you want with your phone. Distributing it to be used on other phones is a different matter.

    @Thiago
    “Android is dead, I’m going Maemo!
    Some parts are closed too, but the base is more standard linux.”
    So will you complain when Nokia restricts the redistribution of the closed parts too and switch to the next platform?

  • A S

    This might make sense from the legal point of view, but it’s not in the spirit of being Googley. Google should make a deal with Cyanogen and legally let him include free Google apps in his mods. That is the only Googley thing to do.

    To Google: Come on Google, don’t let a bunch of lawyers screw this up for you over legality questions… Won’t it actually help you if more people use your apps?

  • thad04

    WOW – I am so extremely irritated, I can’t even contain myself.

    First of all – WE’VE ALREADY PAID FOR THESE 3 OR 4 MEASLY APPS WHEN WE PURCHASED THE PHONE!!! So, unless we stole the phone, this whole issue is moot.

    Google makes it’s money by having users use it’s ADD SUPPORTED SERVICES, not by selling phones. This makes no sense to me on Google’s end. The only reasoning behind this I can come up with, is that the phone companies/manufacturers whined to Google about this because it was enabling us to make better use of the phones we already have, so we don’t have to turn around and by new ones every 2 years (and renew our contracts) to keep up w/ technology.

    One of the main reasons I bought an android phone, was because it’s open source – meaning I can do whatever I want to it. Google better rethink their strategy here, cuz they don’t offer ANYTHING that we can’t find an alternative to.

    I don’t care how Google, or anyone else “explains” it – this is B.S.!

    “I bought my effing phone. I can do what the hell I want with it. I pay alot of damn money per month for the services too… on a continuing basis. It’s mine. If I wanna pee on it and crack the glass… I will. If I wanna stick it in an elephants butt… I will. If I wanna root it, slap on a ROM I will. You got your money. Now lemme have my toy.”

    That should be the motto of the android community!

  • Brian Fistler

    Although I agree that Google DOES have the right to control their closed source applications, that still in no way changes the fact that without their closed source applications, the Android platform is essentially useless.

    If they want to profit from their closed applications, fine, I don’t have a problem with that. Sell the app as a down-loadable/pay application, even though anyone who has purchased an Android phone at this point has ALREADY PAID for the application when they purchased their phone. I’ll be willing to pay a few dollars for it AGAIN if it means I still have freedom on my phone.

  • Jak Crow

    No, Android is most certainly NOT the best mobile platform available, which is why there were custom ROMs to begin with, because factory performance was terrible and the lack of user addressable space is pathetic. The Android team, refusing to address these issues after a year, left it up to the 3rd party and user community to work them out ourselves. I understand the issue with the Google apps, but not the registration setup, crucial for any ROM on the g1 and mytouch to be usable. Google chose to get in the way of honest 3rd party work by NOT allowing use of the registration application when they could have opened it up for everyone to use, and as cyanogen says, the 3rd party ROM space is all but dead without having that major part of the android infrastructure available for people to use freely.

    I guess I’ll be getting that n900 after all.

  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDscorch

    i thought google’s whole “business model” for android was to get ppl to use their OS, meanwhile they would be watching and collecting advertising information and enabling other businesses to use that info and advertise to mobile users

    meanwhile, google would make the overall android experience “better” by seeding it with their excellent supporting apps

    but now, they come out and put a stick in the eye of the mod community that only *benifits* the google/android movement! unbelievable!!

    this ruins all that positive momentum – what a LOUSY p.r. move

    this reminds me of that phrase… “jump the shark” – once you do something stupid, there’s no coming back

    “don’t do evil” my ass

    google walked through a one-way door – there’s no coming back out

    boy, i bet google is happy they hired those lawyers now (pfft!)

  • http://www.shivafool.com ShivaFooL

    Thanks, Rob,for the balanced and level-headed approach to this issue.

  • zefi

    >but now, they come out and put a stick in the eye of the mod community that only *benifits* the google/android movement! unbelievable!!

    Of course. DUH!

    >this ruins all that positive momentum – what a LOUSY p.r. move

    Well, when all mousies are happily heading for the cliff, someone has to do something, right? Or maybe not.

    >this reminds me of that phrase… “jump the shark” – once you do something stupid, there’s no coming back

    This reminds me of that phrase… “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” (hint: this one’s not referring to google)

    >“don’t do evil” my ass

    It’s “Don’t be evil.”

    p/s: Rob, (or whoever that’s working on this site) sorry if someone asked this before and you’ve answered him, but where’s the line feeds in my comments???

  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDscorch

    you seem to be saying the mod community and a sizable portion of android adherents are “mousies” – happily running toward a cliff — and that something “has” to be done to stop it

    i disagree


    i’m saying there used to be a big scale with MS and apple on one end – and google, wayyyy over there, on the other end

    and that’s why a lot of ppl liked google – part of the “not being evil” image google was trying effect

    in my opinion (and, apparently a lot of others) google just took a big step towards the MS/apple side


    i’m not saying this “has” to be stopped – i’m saying if we don’t like what google’s doing, if we see that google is going to be just like all the other corporate borgs, we should take our ball and go home – we don’t have to patronize that kind of behavior

  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDscorch

    “be” evil vs “do” evil…. pfft!

    semantics!

    google is BEING evil by DOING evil

    (and.. i gotta put “evil” in quotes — i KNOW that no matter what side of this discussion you’re on, if you see google as protecting a copyright or enforcing licenses or you see this as google acting like a douche-bag to an admiring mod community and loyal customer base, NONE of this is nowhere near actual “evil” – google was the one to pick their motto and they used “evil” so that’s why i’m using it here)

  • doom

    this is crap. i honestly was one of the biggest fans of android until their response. This makes me rethink my position. If they are basically stopping devs fromcreating roms then their base os is no better than iphone or webos. I might just have to go with webos since i hate apple. This is such a ridiculous move by google, if you dont have your end consumer satisfaction as far as loyalty goes, then no one will put up with the laggy bull that is your beta.

  • BillC

    Google – just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    I – and most of the people running modded phones – have been evangelists for Android and the open approach to mobile. Despite the iPhone currently having a superior user experience I have defended the point of view of Open Source, I have expected Android to eventually surpass the iPhone and I’ve put my money where my mouth is by buying a G1 on the day it was released.

    If you had approached Cyanogen and said that you needed to work with the dev community to create a framework that separated closed from open code but allowed authorized users to include the proprietary bits everyone would have cheered. Instead, you stand on legalities at the expense of your user and developer community.

    I will support an open solution for mobility computing. The open solution will eventually win. Is Google going to provide an open solution? Please take the gun out of the Android’s mouth.

  • http://Goodbyeandroid,HelloLIMO stephane

    well. i am really sad to see what is happening with android.
    but its seems that google want to control everything. so if they have the “power” the rest we cant do anything about all that…
    i am very chocked from what they have done.
    i fact i was planing to buy a second android phone. now i think i will buy a LIMO mobile phone, wich is based on linux and hopefully it will be really open source and 100% flexible and adaptable about what people want.

  • Mark Grant

    All this is bunch of bs, when we paid for our phones we inturn paid for the apps. So we are just putting improvements on our phones along with the apps we already paid for.

  • Brian

    As always a thoughtful and well written article. I’m disappointed that this is the direction Google took. I can understand their standpoint and I think they did well by doing this sooner rather than waiting until modding was a truly established practice on the phones. Better now than a couple years down the road when we’re all dependent on the mods and letting it destroy the platform.
    I’m sad that Cyanogen won’t be continuing the great work he does. I would love to see a deal wherein Modders are able to gain the “licensing” to distribute these Google Apps. It’s a great platform and this is a small setback while the momentum remains in the right direction. Now if we could only get multitouch. :-)

  • http://Youaremissingthepoint! Joe

    Google has packaged Android and their applications in a way that makes them inseparable. The “open” Android OS has been tainted with Google intellectual property and the stink can’t be washed-off. If you own a “with Google” phone you paid for the applications (or your carrier did) so why can’t you get them separate from the OS?

    Why does Google want to do this? I fail to see the value to them. So what if I run CM plus Google apps on my G1 with Google phone? How does that injure Google or their carriers?

    There is an incredibly simple way to fix this. Separate the Google apps from the OS. Provide a Google application installer that only works on “with Google” phones and be done with all this silliness.

    If they don’t do this then “with Google” phones immediately become just crappy iPhone wanabees. Totally closed except for a tightly controlled API.

  • damon marable

    well, when we had cyanogen… we HAD multitouch. we also had speed and just overall better performance

  • twrock

    BJNK wrote on September 26, 2009

    “Here’s the flaw in the whole “the carriers are paying, google is just protecting its investments etc”
    EVERY ANDROID PHONE ALREADY HAS THESE INSTALLED.
    That means you as the consumer has already paid the price for these programs. Installing a new ROM with these involved is no different than reinstalling windows and then reinstalling an app you bought, like photoshop for example.

    Am I right?”

    No, I don’t think you are right. From Google’s perspective, they, and only they, have the right to distribute their proprietary software. The issue with Cyanogen mods are that those mods contain Google’s proprietary software. It may be that currently “all” Android phones have the Google apps. However, even if that is the current situation, it will not always be. (Actually aren’t some of the “knock-off” Android phones being sold by sites like China grabber already in this category?) Google can not allow this to continue if they they intend to make money off of this thing. Many people above have pointed to Google’s business plan and how this action simply falls in line with that plan. It make a lot of sense, and I believe it was inevitable.

    Having said that, I will agree that I do not think Google has any legal footing to stand on when they “imply” (or did they clearly state it?) that the end user has no right to make a copy of those apps. From what Cyanogen has said, he believes this is what they told him. But if it was, just because Google’s lawyers say it, doesn’t mean they can win that battle in court. I don’t believe it for a minute. And I also don’t believe that Google will ever take any single end user to court in an attempt to prove their point. It would be a risk for them to attempt to do so (they might actually lose that case and have a bigger problem to solve), and a financially foolish move as it would cost them a huge amount of money to try to stop end users one at a time. It’s not going to happen.

    I have not yet understood why Cyanogen believes this is the end of mods because I don’t yet understand what he is saying about the two pieces of Google’s proprietary software that are “critical” but can not be worked around. Otherwise it seems to me that he and others could continue to mod the opensource bits to their hearts content, distribute those mods with the necessary scripts to allow the end user to do all the copying themselves. I can only await further explanation and then maybe I’ll “get it”. Hopefully there actually is a way for this to work.

    But, and here’s a big one, “we” don’t have to remain dependent on Google. (I shouldn’t say “we”, because I personally don’t have any of the necessary skills to work on this.) The community can take this as a wakeup call and start replacing every critical piece of proprietary software Google is licensing to the cell phone manufacturers. Bigger projects than this have succeeded. Android’s opensource parts are already a great foundation. If the community is that angry at Google, take Android away from them. They made it opensource. They have no more control over the opensource parts than anyone wants to give them. Fork it if need be. Finish the work they started and make it a complete and truly opensource mobile sytem.

  • http://rubyonlinux.org jeremyd

    Don’t worry, cyanogen or something like it will be back and this will only spur adoption of alternatives to these applications: perhaps a MARKET place that doesn’t have ANY limits or , a ROM that’s not slow as molasses that we all helped you DEBUG for MONTHS. Stop being jerky, give cyanogen the tools he needs to continue making excellent community supported ROMS. Do it or you will loose to Apple, you’re already behind enough do you want to alienate developers like Apple did?

  • twrock

    Ok, for anyone who wants to at least start to try and understand the issues involved in working around Google’s proprietary software, here’s a post that speaks directly to that issue: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=4613476&postcount=425
    Looks like Google was being very smart about all of this from the beginning. Yep, sure, it’s an “opensource” OS that anyone can use ….. just as long as you license a critical piece of software from Google, without which nothing works. Smart? Sure. Slick? Oh you bet. Should we have seen it coming? I think so. There is no free lunch, people. But again, better to have this stuff clearly exposed earlier rather than later. The rules of the game are being enforced. Do you want to keep playing on their court with their ball, or are you going find your own court and make your own rules?

  • twrock

    Wow, I spent way too much time reading way too many threads today. But the great news of course is the CyanogenMods are back! http://www.cyanogenmod.com/home/the-current-state/ Looks like it will be a bit more work for Cyanogen, but the results might actually be “better” as it allows people easy access to a Cyanogen modded “bare bones” Android system. (If I read that all correctly.) And everyone is a lot clearer about the rules of the game. It’s nice to know that I can still look forward to all that rooted/modded goodness!

  • AndrewS

    Has anyone considered the fact that this might be related to the upcoming phones for Verizon? This sounds 100% like an attempt by Verizon to lock down Android on Verizon and keep people paying Verizon for all their BS services/apps that should be free.

  • AfraidOfGoogle

    I don’t know about you all but I am dead scared of Google. They have way to much power, footprint, influence, and money.

    They need to be broken up ASAP.

  • AlexK

    Perfectly understandable on the Google side. Android is open source, Google apps are not. Anyone that has rooted their phone can just reinstall the Google apps just like any other app they download from the marketplace, if needed. Many of the ROM updates are able to be made without reinstalling anyway.

    This doesn’t hurt Cyanogen.

  • http://nerdvittles.com Nerd Uno

    Assuming you have an Android phone, you already have the ability to make a backup image using the Android SDK. Shouldn’t be that hard to create a ROM that pulls proprietary pieces from your backup and adds them to the new rooted ROM that’s missing the proprietary components. Nothing obviously is “stolen” using this methodology.

  • ba
  • Antonio Medina

    I recently purchased the HTC dream. It’s a nice gadget but with one fundamental flaw, the battery life of this device is extremely low. I heard that I could solve this issue partially with the cyanogen mod. It seems that all sites have ben blocked. I cant download this rom. Up until now I was recommending to friends and neighbours the G-Phone. I guess I will have to stop doing it.

  • Jeff
  • Jeff

    I Bet the Steve’s are smiling now :)

    Steve Jobs/Steve Ballmer

  • hoempapa

    Maybe somebody ought to do a poll on whether or not The Google should be killed or not…

    /** a joke, people… a joke.

  • http://maemo.org mrvan

    in response to:
    Perfectly understandable on the Google side. Android is open source, Google apps are not. Anyone that has rooted their phone can just reinstall the Google apps just like any other app they download from the marketplace, if needed. Many of the ROM updates are able to be made without reinstalling anyway.
    This doesn’t hurt Cyanogen.

    It’d be great if this were true but… You Can’t download anything from the marketplace on a rom, because you aren’t allowed to use the Marketplace on a mod of android, because That is also part of their proprietary software!

    What google has done is analogous to :

    Ubuntu based builds (linuxmint, crunchbang…etc) Not being able to use any of ubuntu repositories and updates.

    or

    Mozilla based software (songbird..etc) not being allowed to use mozilla extensions..

    I’m going to switch to maemo

  • Niko

    I couldn’t understand why Google would want to stop people from using their apps because it’s the advertisements in said apps that make them the money, right? Then after reading all these comments (OMG some people need to grow up) I realized, it’s not that they don’t want you to use their apps, it’s that they don’t want manufacturers making money off handset sales using their apps as an incentive for buyers.

    The biggest question I still have, is why can’t it be both ways? Why can’t the big expensive lawyers come up with a way to let the end user have the apps if they want and still make manufacturers pay royalties to GOOG in order to boost their handset sales? It seems reasonable that if the phone maker is profiting by using their apps, they should pay for the apps. But if I buy a device that doesn’t have the “Google Experience” why make it so hard for me to add the parts I would like to experience myself?

    This sentence is the one I have the most problem with:
    “We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals. ”

    Note the, “ANY Android-powered device via Android Market”. Where does one get Android Market for their non-Google Android-device? It’s not available for download anywhere. So what are you talking about Google? You either need to add disclaimers to that statement like: “only Android devices that we deem worthy” or let us all have access to Android Market, Gmail and everything else. I would say 99.9% of us don’t want to reverse engineer it, we just want the best way to check our mail, or see where we are, or get that cool app we’ve been hearing about.

  • Frank

    Reiteration to all the blathering idiots screaming that Google is doing Android wrong: If you already have the apps, you can back them up and use them on any custom rom, LEGALLY.

    The reason Google is doing this is because some phones are NOT Googlefied, and they can’t have 3rd party ROMs including their apps for phones that didn’t have them in the first place. As said, though, if you already had the apps because you bought a phone with the “Google Experience”, then you CAN load Cyanogen’s [recent] ROMs and have the existing Google apps as well.

    And to anyone that says that’s not how it works, explain to me exactly how it is that I DO have Cyanogen’s 4.2.x ROM installed, and still have gMail, Maps, Market, etc…. Just follow the instructions on his website.

    As for what Google is doing, I think they’re doing it fairly well. They informed Cyanogen of the legal ramifications of his work, while simultaneously applauding him for it, and giving him the chance to “clean up” his code. Case and point: he’s still releasing ROMs, and there hasn’t been another peep from Google.

  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDsc_rch

    this actually didn’t turn out so bad

    i’m glad

    android phones still rawk