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'Google strangled Acer phone using Alibaba Android rival at birth'

Cancelled launch event leaves journos milling

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Google has reportedly forced Acer to cancel the launch of a phone that used an Android rival as its operating system.

In an embarrassing U-turn, Acer cancelled a launch event for the smartphone so late that journalists were left milling outside the doors of the venue in Shanghai this afternoon.

Acer had been collaborating with Chinese web giant Alibaba to create a CloudMobile A800 smartphone that would use the new mobile operating system Aliyun, a product of Alibaba's Cloud Computing unit.

Acer's sudden change of heart was caused by pressure from Google, Alibaba alleges, saying that behind-the-scenes commercial pressure forced Acer's hand.

Reuters quotes a statement from Alibaba Cloud Computing released several hours after the u-turn:

Our partner received notification from Google that if the new product launch with Aliyun went ahead, Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorization with Acer

Alibaba's operating system has been touted as a threat to Google's Android in the lucrative Chinese market, with grandiose claims by Chief Strategy Officer Zeng Ming in the Wall Street Journal this week probably not helping.

Register attempts to contact Alibaba, Google and Acer have so far received no replies. We will update this article as and when we hear more. ®

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