Staying away from Android

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

As if there wasn’t already reason enough, Florian Mueller on FOSS Patents drops a bombshell. Maybe the bombshell.

It’s all there — all your worst fears about Android, confirmed by filings for Oracle v. Google. The twofacedness about “open”. Giving preferential treatment to specific OEMs (specifically Motorola).

And this, which I already understood implicitly but it’s still sickening to see it spelled out like this, from a 2009 document entitled “Android Strategy and Partnerships Overview”:

“Android isn’t a new product to monetize; it’s a new medium to drive monetization on existing products.”

Combined, it’s all enough to make me physically ill. I’m staying out of this mess. There’s no way something this gross can be sustainable. And if it somehow does succeed — if Google’s story plays out the same way as Microsoft’s did (which is what all of this really reminds me of) — count me out anyway.

Also posted on Quora.


  1. Shiny replied on September 7th, 2011:

    What are the alternatives and how are they better in this regard?

  2. Colin Barrett replied on September 7th, 2011:

    That’s a more complicated question which deserves a post of its own. All of the platforms out there right now are problematic, but I feel that Apple has not straight up lied about what the whole impetus for their mobile platform is. You just need to be careful to stay out of their way and avoid getting “sherlocked”.

    However I would like to point out one perhaps historical oddity (although any time I use that phrase I expect to be proven wrong): while the class of idea that does not require custom fabrication of hardware has gotten larger (i.e. more ideas do not require hardware), which might suggest that hardware and OSes and platforms and such have been commoditized, this commoditization is not happening. I feel like that tension — more people wanting to create software only products, but at the same time, not having a sane, stable base upon which to build — is at the center of a lot of what mobile developers are experiencing.