back to article Chinese officials wring hands over Google's Android dominance

The Chinese government is unnerved by the success of Android, and wants local firms to become more independent of Google, quelle surprise! Local mobile superstars – Baidu, Huawei, Alibaba – should prioritize the development of an independent mobile operating system, rather than depend on Google's technology, China's Ministry …


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  1. Mr Young

    A Chinese fork of android, that'll work

    Talk about disappearing up yer own arse! I really do wish more trust was available with this modern whizzbang digital comms tbh. Excuse me while I adjust my tinfoil hat and pull my battery - see icon

    1. The elephant in the room

      Re: A Chinese fork?

      Chopstick surely?

  2. Charles Manning

    The borrower is slave to the lender

    No doubt China could get a deal on IP law changes by threatening to take away USA's pocket money.

    But then again, a stressed out, and generally xenophobic/war mongering, USA are likely to become belligerent if cut off from their infinite spending and the Chinese are right to be concerned that the USA could use software stacks as a way to mount revenge attacks.

    It is only the Android stack itself that is foreign. The Linux kernel etc are multi-national and are not part of the US

  3. Dan Paul

    Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

    Certainly, China "could" just steal all the IP for a mobile phone operating system but then they would not be able to get the next new shiny thing.

    Apple would then have to shift production to some other child slavery friendly country as we would then embargo products coming from China because we all know that Google is "all powerful" in the Obama administration.

    Honestly, do we really need any of this stuff or is it just "nice to have"?

    Since I expect the "Fall of Rome" to occur in the next 5-8 years, I am spending on stuff I can use when I have to live in a tent after the coming financial apocalypse (when China calls in the loan).

    Laugh all you like, but if we hit the skids in the USA, you are all following us down the porcelain bowl.

    1. Vic

      Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

      > China "could" just steal all the IP for a mobile phone operating system

      China doesn't need to do anything of the sort.

      The whole Android stack is available at zero cost under very reasonable conditions. A Chinese company could just do a repo download of the whole shebang perfectly legally...


      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

        Indeed. What we have here is an very unsurprising demonstration that the ruling party in a post-communist but still centralist, controlling and repressive state doesn't understand open-source. It's a bit like expecting a mole to understand flying.

        Walled garden versus open source is an old discussion. Evidence so far is that given enough time, open-source always wins. Recently Apple, with its massive first-mover advantage, is losing ground to Android. But that's just a recent skirmish in a war that's been going on since bacteria developed plasmids, and higher organisms developed sex - both means for spreading their source codes as far and as wide as possible, and for maximising the amount of development thereof. (Mutually synergistic, of course).

      2. Dan Paul

        Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)


        The Chinese can get a fork of Android OS cheap, but not the patents for the 3G/4G/LTE connectivity and the other chips inside the phone. Those have to be payed for (at what ever the market will bear unless FRAND) Witnessing all of the trouble that MS Google, Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc etc etc are going through proves that it's not as simple as getting an OS.

        There's alot more than that to consider.

        1. Vic

          Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

          > but not the patents for the 3G/4G/LTE connectivity and the other chips inside the phone


          But that has nothing whatsoever to do with this story, which is about the Chinese government trying to get Chinese companies to build an independent software stack.


          1. Dan Paul

            Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

            I disagree, those hardware patents actually determine much of the software stack. Do you write for Broadcom or Qualcom or others? Which processor and chipset? How about audio and video? They are both quite encumbered with various contentious IP. Let's not ever discuss H.264, HTML5, Flash et al.

            If you cant get the hardware figured out, software is a tertiary problem.

            In reality, the software is (or should be) determined by the hardware, not the other way around.

            1. Vic

              Re: Slaves to convenience ( and Intellectual Property)

              > Do you write for Broadcom or Qualcom or others?

              Not any more :-)


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm, so some department writes a report that basically says "Fund us to write our own OS because, uhmmm, we really should have our own."

    It happens all of the time. In the U.S., and in every country with government funding for academics or R&D.

    The reality is that a mobile OS takes an immense, long term investment to become viable. Android is sits on the Linux kernel, which has two decades invested. The application layer, what makes it 'Android', is much younger but still was the result of years of intense effort focused by a tough competitive environment.

    And you can get the source, right now, at zero cost. Sure, not the latest version. And it's a bear to figure out how to put the pieces together. But it's a tiny fraction of the work to replicate the system, let alone try to develop anything new in a timeframe where it would still be relevant.

    The Chinese would better serve the world and themselves by building an open source mobile protocol and communication stack, and an open base station hardware platform to match. But that's hard work. Even with the existing standards, you don't really have a detailed example. You can't crib liberally from existing open source, and put your name on it.

  5. JaitcH

    "paranoia about Android-based technologies being vulnerable to legal attacks"

    Since when have petty details ever prevented Chinese manufacturers from stealing foreign IP before?

    The Chinese are clever but trying to avoid using Western tech is kind of late, given that so much of their telecoms infrastructure is international compliant already. They already bash out TETRA-compliant base stations and handsets for use in their cities, with many more advanced features than UK Plod has, but the underlying technology makes it totally compliant with other systems around the world.

  6. YARR

    Unlikely to happen...

    Around the turn of the century, China announced a grand plan to reverse engineer Windows 98 and release a 100% compatible OS so they didn't have to pay royalties to Microsoft. What became of this? Instead they have developed a reputation as some of the most ardent hackers.

    It's easier to hack into other people's code than it is to develop your own secure code.

    1. Lars

      Re: Unlikely to happen...

      I don't think anybody is interested in reverse engineering Windows to day, unless you want to increase the ability to hack it, of course. When more or less all of the Android phones are probably made in China (not imported stuff) this might indeed have something to do with Google. But I wonder a bit about Android having to pay something to Microsoft. I cannot remember the details but it might make some sense not wanting to rely on Android.

      1. dotdavid

        Re: Unlikely to happen...

        Basically Microsoft asserts that Android violates some of its patents, but rather than duke it out in court with Google they've instead opted to put pressure on Android OEMs to sign patent licencing agreements, presumably threatening them with revokation of various discounts on other Microsoft software and whatnot as well as the threat of legal action.

        They've been surprisingly successful, especially with manufacturers with one foot in the Microsoft camp like HTC. Of course Microsoft don't really want to go to trial as half the patents would probably be declared invalid and the rest probably not worth much, so it's in their interests to keep things the way they are - and this goes as far as not actually saying what the patents Android supposedly infringes actually are, and forcing patent licencees to not divulge them either as part of their licence agreement.

  7. heynownow

    Mark Shuttleworth should visit China

    The Chinese govt should really look into Ubuntu touch and fork it for themselves. Honestly Huawei should've just bought the rights to WebOS before LG did, but I suspect HP would've got fingered by Uncle Sam had that happened.

  8. frank ly

    Correction for modern times

    "One of the main roles of government is to be paranoid _ABOUT_ its populace ..."

  9. dotdavid

    "Google has already discriminated against local companies developing their own Android-based operating systems by not sharing code with them in a timely manner, the paper claims, without naming companies."

    Don't worry China, it's not just you - they don't let *anyone* see the source code for new Android versions until that new version has been released into the wild.

    But I don't really see how much of a problem that is, considering that once they've done that you can pretty much do what you want with the source (assuming you're not an Android-certified OEM, as Acer discovered).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Um Windows?

    They seem perfectly happy to run all their computers on Windows and surely that is much worse. Any drives to use desktop Linux seem to have faded,

  11. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Black Helicopters

    Open Sauce????

    @YARR & heynownow

    What make you think the Chinese Government ave any interest in anything open source????

    China blocks website access and monitors the Internet access of individuals. China allegedly employs 30–50,000 police whose only function is to monitor internet and communications usage as it 'wants to curb the harmful effects of illegal information on state security, public interests and children'. Note that it says illegal and not incorrect or harmful.

    Open source???, sounds like carefully controlled source is what they want. See Icon.

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