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Skyhook Vs. Google

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Is Google a bully or merely a company that tries to find partners best-suited to their business model? We'll let you be the judge.

    Skyhook Wireless, a Boston-based geo-location company, is suing Google for allegedly using all their Google might to pressure companies not to use Skyhook but Google Maps instead, according to the Washington Post. Did we mention the alleged companies pressured are Android manufacturers?

    Documents coming out of the lawsuit were enough for TechCrunch to label the search giant a "bully," while Fast Company used the term "Evil Android." However, If a company has a deal with several manufacturers where each licensing agreement has an expiration date, that company can quit using manufacturers after any project. Or, as Fast Company says, "Basically if a maker angers Google in some way, there's no reason Google couldn't choose to not renew a contract--effectively shutting off access to Android."

    A bit of emotive language there, Fast Company. I think that "anger" is a subjective word. Most licensing agreements have caveats so that if a maker creates a crappy product or has business policies that greatly challenge the partnership, a company can  get out of the agreement. Who wants to be stuck with a partner that's not working out?

    The Skyhook suit alleges that in 2010, Skyhook had a deal with Motorola to provide location data for the Droid X, but that Google tried to persuade Motorola that Skyhook's data would interfere with Android capability, which eventually lead to pushing Skyhook out of the equation, according to the New York Times.

    So far, the media is comfortable casting aspersions on Google as well as guilt. I'm not so sure I want to abandon the "innocent until proven guilty" belief system just yet -- even if it would make for a better read.

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