back to article Skyhook vows to take Google suit to bitter end

The CEO of Skyhook Wireless has vowed to take the company's lawsuits against Google to the bitter end and – "one way or another" – get its location services onto every Android phone. In September, the Boston-based Skyhook – which offers a service for pinpointing a mobile device's location via Wi-Fi signals – launched two suits …


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  1. Chad H.

    Drop our competitors software or else? Where have I heard that before?

    In other news Google announced the completion of the move of it's headquarters to Redmond Washington. Speaking at the "two Microsoft way" campus a spokesperson stated that coming to redmond felt like coming home and the neighbours are "our kind of people"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Google never said drop it. And yes this article is misleading, and it's biased is introduced by the complainant.

      Google has positioning builtin to its os, and this is required for meeting the requirements for using android market, and standardised apps etc.. BUT you can install skyhook too if you want. It is not prohibited. When Motorola asked google for a discount as they already had contracts for positioning google said no, as its a core component. Google did not tell motorola that they must not use skyhook, they said skyhook is not a substitute for a core component. Motorola then decided they did not need skyhook and terminated contracts.

      I do not expect to have to buy a steeringwheel seperatly to my car, nor do I see a thriving market in steeringwheels. skyhook should wake up and accept it.

      1. Chad H.

        @ AC

        Lets say though that you run a luxury car showroom. You think the steering wheels on the new BMW's look a bit plain, especially when compared to these amazing independently produced steering wheels. You decide that you're going to swap them over as you want to give your customers something a bit special and different, but as you do BMW tell you that they'll stop providing spare parts to your service department and you wont be getting next years model.

        ("[Google forced handset makers] to terminate contractual obligations with Skyhook [and] to sacrifice superior end user experience with Skyhook by threatening directly or indirectly to deny timely and equal access to evolving versions of the Android operating system and other Google mobile applications," the suit reads.)

        Surely if you're replacing the steering wheels only and meeting that warranty yourself its none of their own damned business?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Chad H

          Two things:

          1) From a dealership point of view, BMW actually will not allow them to deviate from selling it's cars in factory form, pretty much without exception.

          2) From a customer perspective, if you buy a new car, then change various parts of it for after market parts, that will void your warranty, and while you will be able to get "support" for your car, you will pay through the nose for it.

          Sorry, your analogy doesn't hold up for me.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Disabling the saftey features in the vehicle, (ie the steeringwheel airbag) can in some countries put the vehicle into limp home mode. take the car to a BMW garage and all they will do is fit a new BMW steering wheel.

          bad example as this reinforces the original AC's point.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Ramshackle
    Big Brother

    No thanks

    ""one way or another" – get its location services onto every Android phone."

    Is there any way to make sure neither of them can get location services onto my phone unless I specifically ask for it? The creepy bastards.

    1. Chad H.


      Don't install any apps.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge


        As the AC above has pointed out that this is a "core component" and Google have it "built into its OS", that should probably read: "Don't install Android.".....

        Unless of course you can be sure that Google will never use it to track you* and only apps will.

        *Define "evil". I suspect that "improving the end-user advertising experience" is considered to be on a par with puppies, love and soft-centered luxury chocolates at Google.

  4. Bill Coleman

    is it just me

    ...or does it seem that more and more lawsuits are fairly much just publicity stunts?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a publicity stunt and a way to get money out of a big company.

    Skyhook greatly exaggerated the quality of their coverage and accuracy in order to promote themselves as the superior product. That's actually fine if they want to be aggressive about their marketing -- it's the job of their customers (OEMs) to check up on whether it's true. Turns out many original developers using Skyhook (like Apple) found that they could get better location information elsewhere and for cheaper.

    The real problem is Skyhook misused their position to masquerade as GPS data (which takes priority in many Android applications because it's considered groundtruth i.e. highly reliable in terms of its accuracy.) This is particularly bad for developers who use this GPS data to provide precise analysis or instructions to users. Their self-serving misuse of the system meant that developers would have no indication that the data being passed was not a GPS signal but rather just an estimate (potentially hundreds of meters off) leading to a terrible user and developer experience.

  6. hexx


    through this:

    google IS evil

    1. Vic

      Read it.

      > google IS evil

      If Florian says that Google is evil, that's pretty strong evidence that they're saints...


  7. The BigYin

    Skyhook got a patent...

    ...on working out where you are from what you can see/sense? Dear gods. Did no one mentions the old shipping navigation system (forget name, sorry) that uses known, fixed masts and figures out where you are by looking at the signals?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course Google did this

    They need you to accept the "Allow Google's location service to collect anonymous location data. Collection will occur even when no applications are running." terms which feeds them all the data they need to have a location service.

    Without users feeding them GPS coordinates and tower IDs for free they would never have this service working. Lots of money riding on being able to provide this. They need as many as they can get to cover all networks and locations.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not exactly.

      Google collects and retains the data in part of their LBS activities.

      When Google does their drives they collect signal strength and IDs of available wi-fi networks.

      Since most wi-fi stations don't change and are almost always on... they can map you based on what they see. In urban environments where you have tall buildings making it difficult to get accurate GPS coordinates... well... you supplement this by Wi-Fi signals.

      So you can increase accuracy because Google had done the mapping already. They don't need your GPS data. They want it because its more information about you and where you go to shop and what you are interested in.

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