China Says Google Has Too Much Control Over Its Smartphone Market

A new white paper written by Chinese officials expresses concern about Android's dominance.

Government officials in China have published a white paper that says Google has too much sway over the country's smartphone industry. The vast majority of smartphones sold in China run some variation of Google's Android operating system. Some experts believe the government make take action to curb Android's market dominance.

PCMag's Chloe Albanesius reported, "Google's Android has become a popular operating system among Chinese phone and tablet makers, but the government believes that local firms have possibly become too reliant on the search giant's mobile OS. The China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) last week published a white paper that examined the state of the mobile Internet in China."

Reuters quoted a translated version of the paper, which said, "Our country's mobile operating system research and development is too dependent on Android. While the Android system is open source, the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google."

Reuters also noted, "The paper said Google had discriminated against some Chinese companies developing their operating systems by delaying the sharing of codes. Google had also used commercial agreements to restrain the business development of mobile devices of these companies, it added."

CNET's Don Reisinger observed:

"In December, market researcher Informa announced that worldwide Android shipments in 2012 would hit 461 million units. One-third of all Android devices shipped were sent to China. Informa also said that Android is running on two-thirds of all smartphones in China.

 That the ministry has taken issue with Android could spell trouble for Google. The report didn't propose any regulations on Android or request for changes, but China has in the past placed onerous terms on popular companies."

But TechCrunch's Natasha Lomas argued that Google doesn't really have that much control over China's smartphones, writing, "But while Android undoubtedly dominates the OS landscape not all Chinese Android-powered device are equal since a large proportion of homegrown mobile makers heavily customize Android and do not carry any of the standard Google services such as its Play store."

Tags: Google, Android, China, smartphone OS

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