Google has promised to keep Android free and open for at least five years in order to secure China’s approval for its acquisition of Motorola. The search giant is currently seeking regulatory approval for its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, and China felt that keeping Android free and open should be one of the major requirements for allowing the deal to go through.
The ability for any manufacturer to use Android to power one of its devices is a huge advantage for the operating system. Of the three major smartphones OSes, only Android is available for free. Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS can be licensed for a small fee, while iOS can only be found on Apple products. Android can also be heavily customized, as seen on the Kindle Fire.
When Google announced its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility last August, some people were concerned that other Android manufacturers would be placed at a disadvantage. While promising to keep Android free and open for at least five years won’t assuage all of those fears, it should provide at least some small comfort for manufacturers.