What Skyhook is upset about is that it says it was led to believe by Google that Android would be an "open" platform. Morgan said that Google had initially said that Android contained no location resources and hence Skyhook felt free to go ahead and negotiate contracts with original equipment manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung. Skyhook spent $1.5 million wooing Motorola and thought it had a foot in on the ground floor of Android in 2009.
Literally, that is what the the court documents say, say, at least according to the complaint filed by Skyhook. Google's head of Android, Andy Rubin, reportedly sent a message to Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha telling him to stop ship of Android devices loaded with Skyhook location software. Morgan said that is exactly the same thing Google did between Skyhook and Samsung.
Skyhook is accusing Google of threatening to take away the Android licenses of Motorola and Samsung if did not launch with Google Location Services.
"We looked at these deals that we wanted and we thought they were all pretty big," Morgan said. "We thought we were on an IPO track after seven years in business and this happens."
Skyhook. Meet carpet. Yeah, the one that Google just pulled out from under you.
"Being told you are going to lose your Android license is Google's nuclear option," Morgan said. "And Google uses its nuclear option often."
Then we come back to the notion of "open." Skyhook would not be upset with Google if they had been upfront with their intentions for Android in the first place. Apple and Microsoft were straightforward with Skyhook in saying that they were going to use their own location services (for better or worse) and Skyhook, though probably disappointed, was OK with that.
"It is all a cover story to be able to control the location [on Android devices,]" Morgan said. "We would be fine with it if that is the way it started but it wasn't and we feel that might be illegal."
The next phase of the process will take about another six months as lawyers go through the discovery process. Skyhook's attorneys will be looking to prove that Google is stifling innovation and forced Android OEMs to break contracts with Skyhook because the search company wanted to control the location data. There is a side case to all of this where Skyhook is suing Google over four location-based patents.