Google Strongarms Acer Into Canceling China Smartphone Launch

The best way to beat your competition is to build a better mousetrap (and then market it more aggressively and creatively), but if you have enough clout, sometimes you can also just bully your way through. According to a Reuters report, that’s essentially what Google did to Acer today in China, where Acer was scheduled to unveil the Acer CloudMobile A800 smartphone running the Aliyun OS (a cloud-based mobile operating system developed by China’s Alibaba).

Apparently, when the press arrived at the scheduled launch, they were told by Alibaba employees that the event was cancelled. Alibaba Cloud Computing later said in a statement that Acer backed out at the last minute after being pressured by Google. Google, it seems, threatened to “terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer”.

Acer CloudMobile A800
Acer CloudMobile A800 running Android

Acer had opted for the cloud-based Aliyun OS over Android in the CloudMobile A800 and was expected to continue to explore using the Chinese mobile operating system on other devices, as well. China is a huge developing market so it’s not surprising that Google would be nervous to see its hardware partners flirting with a different mobile platform, but delivering an ultimatum to block competition is hardly good form.

Aliyun OS launch 2011
Aliyun OS Launch, July 2011

Google may have its own side of the story to tell, but thus far the company has not commented on the situation.