"When it first hit the marketplace, Google Android had a lot to offer smartphone manufacturers looking for an capable of tackling Apple’s iPhone: it was open- source, license-free, and amenable to being “skinned,” or modified to suit the needs of a particular carrier or company.
But Google itself, concerned about fragmentation and competing against Apple’s tightly integrated software-hardware stack, is reportedly interested in bringing a little more law and order to Android’s Wild West: according to Bloomberg Businessweek, the search engine giant’s Android group is now demanding approval for anything companies do with the platform’s code."
We would want to remind Google of its key slogan: "Don't be evil" on this one. Turning a fork of Linux in to a code based utterly controlled by the largest from on the web might make sense in a branding world, but it would leave the mobile world without a major Open Source player, which would slow innovation significantly. This move from Google follows a trend of firms like Twitter and a long established practice of Apple to more intensely control what can be created by the crowd. We believe that what has made Microsoft so successful over the years is not actually control, but the fact that Office allows people to install the software they want on the machine they want to buy, and Office allows users to make the documents they want. Microsoft's value add to users is empowering, not broadcasting, and firms still struggle with this idea.