Verizon Wireless has joined the LiMo Foundation as a board member. The US operator said it would sell Linux handsets next year and position LiMo as its preferred operating system, although it will also support rival platforms such as Windows Mobile. “We'll start with a few simpler devices and work our way up,” vice president Kle Malady said in a conference call.
He revealed Verizon opted for LiMo over Android because of the foundation’s governing structure and said the carrier had committed an unspecified financial investment in the group. But he said Android phones could eventually run on the Verizon network anyway via third parties or even Verizon itself. “If devices come along that are interesting to us and our customers we'd absolutely look at that.”
In other comments Verizon executives have complained that Android required the operator or handset developer to take the whole stack - right up to the user interface.
Verizon preferred LiMo because it limited itself to being OS middle-ware, thus enabling the service provider flexibility over the user interface.
But there is also the suspicion that Verizon, not surprisingly, nurses a pronounced corporate enmity to all things Google, in much the same way that Lions and Hyenas don't exactly hit it off out on the Serengeti, with each trying kill the other's young. Like our corporate friends the big beasts of the plains have incompatible business models but are always trying to occupy and dominate the same space.
The decision to forgo Android by Verizon comes amid squabbling between the two beasts over an open access provision in a recent beachfront spectrum win in the US.
But you have to go back to 2006 to find the germs of the trouble. Then it was that John Thorne, a Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel, came out snarling in the run-up to a debate over whether Internet companies could be charged additional fees for using cable and telecom operators' access lines. Thorne accused Google (and others) of freeloading by gaining access to homes using facilities the phone company had spent billions on putting in place.
So battle commenced. Stay tuned.
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