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Internal emails reveal Google's desperation over Skyhook's Android deal with Motorola

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While Skyhook's lawsuit against Google has been ongoing since September, we've yet to hear the latter's side of the story to fight back anti-competition claims. That's all changed now that a Massachusetts state court has published a collection of internal emails from Mountain View, shedding some light on the reasons behind Motorola's -- and apparently Samsung's as well -- abandonment of Skyhook's XPS location service on its Android phones. In particular, soon after the deal was announced in April 2010, an Android product manager became worried that such a deal would pull more manufacturers away from Google's Location Service, thus jeopardizing the company's ability to maintain and improve its location database through continued data collection. "That would be awful for Google," wrote the manager.

Fair enough, but here comes the juicy part of the story: in the following month, Google informed Motorola that it wasn't happy with the way Skyhook blends location data from WiFi, GPS, and cellular signal. Or in Google's words: this is data "contamination." Despite Motorola refuting such concern, a week later it informed Skyhook that Google had told Moto that its choice for a third-party location service "renders the device [Droid X] no longer Android Compatible." It's not exactly clear what this compatibility issue is, but it's believed to be the ultimate reason that forced Motorola -- being a close pal of Google -- to drop Skyhook's XPS in favor of Google's Location Service. If you're still not feeling sorry for Skyhook, then note that last month Google called this "a baseless complaint" and a "thinly veiled fishing expedition" for internal Google documents and emails. Funnily enough, one email quotes an Android manager saying it was obvious to phone manufacturers that "we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want." Question is: which direction will the club swing now that the two companies are battling it out in court?

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