Acer cancels phone launch with Alibaba, allegedly in response to threats from Google


According to a report by Dow Jones, Google may be using some heavy-handed tactics to suppress its rivals overseas. The Dow Jones reports that Acer canceled the launch of a new device made with an Alibaba-developed OS after Google "expressed concerns about the smartphone." An Acer official tells Dow Jones that the company "will continue to communicate with Google," and that it "still wants to launch the new smartphone based on Alibaba software." Alibaba, a family of Chinese internet companies, reportedly said that Acer "was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner." In a statement given to CNET, Alibaba says that "we respect and understand our partner's decision to postpone the introduction of the phone, and are dismayed by the impact this dispute has had on our partner."

The company's harsh language towards Google reflects its ambitions: in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last Sunday, the company's chief strategy officer said that it wants "to be as strong as Android in China," and that "Android is not able to provide good user experience in the Chinese market." Alibaba operates major web properties in China, and provides services similar to Amazon and Ebay in the United States — plus an operating system named Aliyun OS with the standard gamut of smartphone features and cloud-based mobile apps.

If Google is involved in shutting down the launch, it appears to have done so at the final hour: Reuters reports that journalists traveled to the event but were turned away from the venue. We've asked Google and Acer to comment on the situation, and will update this story with additional information as we receive it.

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