One of the key selling points of Google’s Android platform was its open source mentality; anybody could have the code! Anybody could do anything with Android! It’s your mobile phone OS! It’s free! Free!
Many analysts predicted that this would do two things: make Android the number one smartphone OS and backfire horribly and cause dozens of broken versions of Android. Guess what? They were right. Now Google is yanking some control back, and its partners are less than happy about it, as in “talking to the Justice Department” unhappy.
At issue is the fact that Google has started demanding that any major changes to Android be run by them first. Which sounds reasonable until you realize it allows Google to, say, stall phones that have Bing deeply integrated into their software (like anybody uses Bing anyway) or to take a look at what Facebook is planning for their Facephone, or that it basically gives Google the right to tell manufacturers who they can or cannot partner with.
Android is still open-source, and it’s still the OS of choice for smartphone manufacturers. But expect the whining to pick up a bit more, especially when Google vetoes a lucrative partnership of some sort.