Google: Skyhook Android lawsuit is without merit, so suck it

Google:Skyhook Android lawsuit without merit
Google:Skyhook Android lawsuit without merit

Okay, so Google didn’t really say “suck it,” but the search giant is saying in a legal filing that the Skyhook lawsuit is without merit and that Google didn’t do anything improper regarding Android’s requirements.

If you recall, Skyhook provides a location database that’s built off of WiFi hotspots and it secured deals with Motorola, Samsung and others to augment its location-based services (it even used to work with Apple on that). The lawsuit is claiming that Google exerted its control over Android to force companies to end its partnerships with Skyhook in favor of Google’s location services.

How did it do that? Well, Skyhook said that Google is using Android “compatibility” as an important business tool. Yes, Android is mostly open source and any company can use it on retail devices but you must get Google’s approval to include super-important things like the Android Market, Gmail and YouTube apps, which use proprietary code. Skyhook believes this is illegal.

That’s not the case, Google responded in a legal filing.

“To the extent Google took any action that affected Skyhook, those actions were the lawful exercise of legitimate rights of Google and therefore are not actionable,” Google said in the filing, according to BusinessWeek. “If Skyhook suffered any damages, which is denied, then any such damages resulted solely from its own acts or omissions.”

Oh snap. It’s actually pretty tough to say which company is in the right here, as the judge will decide what legal amount of control Google has over Android. In its defense, it’s still letting the open source version out there for companies to go nuts with. On the other hand, by withholding vital components like the Android Market from devices that don’t yield to Google’s business interests, the company is really muddling its “open” claims.

[Via Bloomberg BusinessWeek, photo]

  • Edlong

     Hello, It’s Google’s Market.  They don’t have to put it on anything they don’t want to. The Market isn’t  necessarily a part of Android.  
    If Skyhook is so good maybe Samsung or Moto will use them and later Skyhook will say, “If you put that old nasty Market on your phone you can’t use Skyhook!”  OK… I doubt it, but just maybe.

    • Anonymous

      True. Doesn’t appear that Google is doing anything illegal here but it definitely seems to violate the “open” claim it loves to talk about.  

      • Umm, no it doesn’t. Android and Google’s apps are two different things.  

        • Anonymous

          Yes but it does violate the spirit of the open claims, even if the two things are different.  

          • How do you figure Marin? If two things are completely different, and Google only claims openness on Android and NOT THEIR APPS, (Apps != OS) how does it violate the spirit of anything? 

  • elmer

    OPEN means open!  Shame on Google.

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