Alibaba CTO: Google has strayed from its ‘Don’t be evil’ motto

Alibaba CTO: Google has strayed from its ‘Don’t be evil’ motto

Chinese ecommerce leader Alibaba’s CTO Wang Jian has spoken out against Google and its handling of Android, adding to a growing rift between the two companies that began when a joint smartphone launch from Alibaba and Acer was canceled last week.

The open letter (via Techweb) has strong words for the Mountain View, California company, especially in response to comments from Android boss Andy Rubin that accused Alibaba’s Aliyun operating system of being an incomplete Android build.

Acer and Alibaba were set to show off the Aliyun-powered CloudPhone A800 smartphone last week, but Acer backed out at the last minute after Google applied pressure, citing the terms of the Open Handset Alliance, of which Acer is a member.

“As former fans of Google’s technology and spirit, reading Andy Rubin’s article filled me and my colleagues with deep regret and sadness. Here, we see a different Google. The Google that used to fight for “Don’t be evil”, openness and free competition has changed,” Wang wrote.

Wang went on to challenge Rubin as having redefined the original “open” Android Open Source Project (AOSP) into a “Google OS” that requires a Google license.

“Today, AOSP Android has been changed by Google to exist entirely as a Google OS to serve the company’s own benefit. We are grateful to Google for establishing the Android Open Source Project, which made possible the rapid development of an open Android, but Google has increasingly taken AOSP in a closed direction. The Open Handset Alliance (OHA) has become Google’s tool to restrict innovation by handset makers.

As enthusiastic supporters of Android’s open-source technology, we cannot and will not destroy the open ecosystem of Android. Moreover, we will strive to uphold the original intention of the Android ecosystem which is openness and free competition. We have done a tremendous amount of work to provide more platforms for Android developers.”

Wang voiced his commitment to the open Android community, but made it clear that his company has no need to look out for Google’s own interests:

“We have a responsibility and obligation to work together with developers to perfect an open Android, but we don’t have any responsibility and obligation to safeguard Google OS’ current and future interests.

We hope there is room for another operating system which is different from Google OS and provides users with more options.”

The executive concluded by noting that Google and Alibaba will undoubtably be in “competition and conflict” and voiced Alibaba’s commitment to soldier on:

“We regret that the development direction of Aliyun conflicts and competes with that of Google OS. However this is the direction and outcome pursued by all of us who adhere to an open mindset. We will continue to stand by our belief.”

Note: Quotes translated from Chinese by Josh Ong

(hat tip Bill Bishop)

Image credit: Charles Chan

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