Acer recently announced that it is postponing the launch of its new Cloud Mobile handset, the first handset based on Alibaba Holding’s Aliyou operating system that launched just a year ago. It seems that Google, the owner of the now dominant Android smartphone platform, has been quick to recognize the potential threat that a new operating system could pose in the future, particularly a platform that could become the platform of choice among Chinese consumers, the largest and one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world.
Google has put pressure on Acer, discouraging Acer to launch the new device. Acer appears to have complied as the postponement of the imminent launch of the Cloud Mobile suggests, as Acer also makes a variety of other devices using the Android platform.
While the Android platform is open source and thus can be used by anyone, Google provides access to some important and proprietary applications, such as GPS tracking only to officially approved device makers. Given the growing and must have nature of these features, it provides Google the edge necessary to make its partners comply with such requests.
Lack of ownership of dominant platforms such as Android poses some interesting challenges for EMNCs. What should they do?