Google love triangle forces Acer to nix Chinese smartphone launch

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Google: Tech giant, advertising ace … jealous lover?

Pressure from Google caused Acer to cancel the launch of its CloudMobile A800 smartphone today, Reuters reports. Journalists sent to cover the event in Shanghai, China were sent away with only “internal reasons” as the explanation for the cancellation.

The CloudMobile A800 was set to be the first device from Acer to run Aliyun, a cloud-based mobile operating system developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Acer says it chose Aliyun because of its easy-to-use interface, but it’s likely that Acer was also looking to expand its smartphone offerings beyond just Android.

But that relationship didn’t fly with Google, which Alibaba says threatened to stop working with Acer if the company followed through on its Aliyun plans.

“Our partner received notification from Google that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer,” Alibaba told Reuters in a statement.

Acer apparently complied with Google’s demands, and for one big reason: Acer needs Google a lot more than Google needs Acer.

What’s surprising about Google’s threats, however, is that they came despite the fact that, outside China, the CloudMobile will run on Android, not Aliyun.

One big question is what Acer’s decision means for the future of its relationship with Alibaba. Acer plans to announce another Aliyun-based smartpone next month, and a few more in the early part of next year. It’s unknown what the present situation means for those devices.

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