May 9th, 2011

Skyhook’s lawsuit against Google is about to add some new life to the debate over Android’s openness. The company is suing Google for allegedly using some industry elbowing to keep Skyhook’s GPS technologies off of Motorola’s Android devices. Part of the investigation called for several internal Android Team emails as evidence, emails that have now been made public by a Massachusetts state court. One email in particular doesn’t paint a pretty picture in Google’s favor.

Android open source and compatibility program manager Dan Morrill wrote “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want.” While a quote from an email discussion taken out of context can be easily misconstrued, the words are still disconcerting to hear. Morrill’s words indicate that open-source or not, Google and the Android Team are employing a sort of preferential treatment to those who play by Google’s rules. Sure, anyone can still tinker with Android source and create a device running the OS but without Google’s blessing and the perks that come along with it.

Certainly not the news Google wants to have aired out just a day prior to the commencement of their Google I/O developer conference. It would not surprise me one bit if the issue is brought to the forefront during Q&A sessions.

[NYT via BGR]

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