Google’s confidential Mobile Application Distribution Agreement gets published
Earlier this week we heard a rumor about a change Google was making to its policies for certifying Android devices for Google Mobile Services – that is to say, what phone makers had to do if they wanted to ship their Androids with Google apps installed. That development was all about the Android platform version, encouraging OEMs to release hardware running relatively recent builds. Of course, there are plenty of other rules that Google also makes OEMs follow in order to win approval, but just what are they? Some of those details are now coming to light, thanks to the publication of previously private agreements
The docs stem from the Oracle vs. Google patent case over Java APIs, where Google shared the details of its Google Mobile Services agreements – formally, the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement – with OEMs like HTC and Samsung. The paperwork provided to the court is a couple years old by now, and while the specifics may have changed slightly, the general theme should still be on-point.
Some of the rules are obvious: OEMs are required to install a dozen core Google apps. Others deal with layout, mandating what needs to go on the home screen, and what can be moved to other screens (including just how many swipes away they can be).
It sounds like Google wasn’t counting on any of this information going so public – both the HTC and Samsung docs were marked “highly confidential – attorney’s eyes only” – yet they’re nonetheless available from the court clerk. With organizations like the European Commission now looking into the antitrust implications of how Google runs Android, the company may soon find itself forced to defend its practices.