We just heard about China finally approving Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, but now we learn that in order to get China’s approval, Google had to promise to keep Android open and free for anyone to use for at least the next five years. There’s no reason given for this request but it stands to reason that China wanted to make sure that Motorola wouldn’t be given special treatment over other Android manufacturers. This is interesting since Google has never given any indication of not keeping Android open and free. They’ve actually said just the opposite.
It makes sense, though, for China to want to ensure Android’s continued openness since Chinese manufacturers and carriers often build heavily customized versions of Android on many devices, and this assurance from Google would keep their gears turning for some time.
The Google buyout of Motorola Mobility hasn’t closed yet, but the Chinese condition won’t slow it down. Google assures everyone that their stance has not changed and they will keep things running as they are. A Motorola spokesperson stated “we are pleased that the deal has received approval in all jurisdictions and we expect to close early next week.”
There’s no reason to believe Google has any plans to change the way they handle Android. Why fix what isn’t broken?