Re: I agree
You need to differentiate Android the trademark, Android the software (including Linux kernel, userland, and AOSP), and the proprietary Google apps and frameworks that run on Android (GSF, Play apps, etc), because saying "Android software, by law, is NOT under your control" is simply not true. While Google may own the Android trademark, the Android kernel (modified Linux kernel) is licensed under the GPLv2, while the userland and AOSP are licensed under Apache 2.0, which makes the whole package Free Software as defined by the FSF. That's how custom distributions of Android are able to exist, because it is legal to do so. For example, I am posting this from my Android (the trademark) device running LineageOS 16, and I don't use Google apps or services otherwise what comes with the AOSP. Compare this freedom to iOS, which is closed source and proprietary.
GSF and associated functionality is NOT a core feature of Android. When Google took over Android, they extended and replaced the Android Market with the proprietary Google Play Store, and used their leverage as the new figurehead for the Android trademark and codebase to push their apps on OEMs, resellers, and end users. Why do you think the EU (and recently India) are going after Google for anti-trust lawsuits? Because "Android" does not mean "Google bloat" and their pervasiveness in the Android ecosystem pushes out most competition on the platform. Apple can get away with having Safari, FaceTime, and etc. on all the devices they sell, because the "iPhone" is expressly a single, homogeneous entity and the built-in apps are baked-in features of the iOS software.
Yes, Google is almost expected to be a part of any Android device despite being functionally independent, but the only reason GSF is such a standard is because Google pushes it and provides lots of nice APIs and services you can't get anywhere else; I don't like or use them personally but it's not hard to see their worth to the average app developer. Want to distribute your cool app to as many people as possible on a trusted network? OK, release your app on Google Play for a small fee, sign up to Google AdWords, and get your app presented on the millions of devices showing Google ads. Want to show your own ads and make money off of your app? Embed this simple API in your codebase, and add a few function calls to pop up some revenue generators. The whole process is practically effortless and very affordable, not to mention Google gets a cut of any revenue you generate from app sales and advertising, so of course they're going to push their APIs over everyone else.
There are other app stores (too many to count, I use F-Droid), other advertising methods and APIs, other stock apps to include with a phone. Google just happens to be the owner of some of the best you could possibly be using, for developers and frequently for end users.