Google reiterates free Android availability to iPhone rivals

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Motorola's latest Droid 2 handset with Google's Android operating system installed on it. Photo -?

Google’s executive chairman has down played skepticism surrounding Android platform after its purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings. Google boss?Eric Schmidt said the Internet search giant will continue to offer its Android mobile and tablet operating system for free to its handset manufacturing partners including Samsung Electronics, the world?s biggest vendor making mobile devices using Google?s free Android operating system.

?We will run (Motorola) sufficiently and independently in a way that will not violate Android?s openness. We are not going to change in any material way the way we operate,? Schmidt assured a curious audience at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea.

Google?s $12.5 billion?acquisition of Motorola in August raised concerns among its handset partners about preferential treatment to the Illinois-based company. However, Google quashed their anxiety by emphasizing that its pending purchase of Motorola Mobility Holding Inc. won’t impact relations with its manufacturing partners that rely on its Android operating system.

While Google makes nothing from Android directly, it makes a lot of money, about $2.5 billion a year, from pushing ads on Android-enabled devices. And that $2.5?billion?is expected to double over the next 12 months, so it?s in Google?s interest to keep Android free for handset partners.

Schmidt took a shot at Microsoft’s patent licensing arrangements with many Android manufacturers, including Samsung. “Microsoft is not telling the truth on this issue, and they are using tactics to scare people because they are scared of the success of Android,” he remarked.

The comments, made by Schmidt during a visit to South Korea?home base to Android phone vendors Samsung and LG ?echo the statements Google first made when it announced that it would buy Motorola in its largest acquisition ever.

Analysts are puzzled as to why Google insists it will not be giving preferential treatment to its new acquisition and promote its handset business, the very reason Internet search giant paid US$12.5 billion to get hands on patent-rich Motorola.

The deal was aimed at helping California-based Google expand in the phone market and up its rivalry with Apple Inc. The purchase will also bring more than 17,000 patents Google can use to protect the Android software platform.

On his second visit to South Korea since 2007, Eric Schmidt acknowledged big strides the country has made in technology. He announced that Google plans to develop a new program for local market developers.

In a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Schmidt pledged to support the globalisation of Korean software and intellectual content, especially Korean pop music via the video-streaming service on YouTube starting next year.

Sources: The Korea Herald and WSJ

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