A great piece over on the Economist looks at how Amazon adapted Android’s operating system so that it did not have to ‘make nice’ with Android’s cornerstone company, Google:
To display Google’s trademarked Android name, offer the Android Marketplace for apps, or employ Google services (like turn-by-turn satellite navigation), a device maker must sign separate agreements with Google. Some in the industry allege that these restrict the use of competing services.
Amazon did away with such encumberances. It has apparently struck no deal with Google, and has not emblazoned the Fire with the Android brand. It also wiped away any trace of Android’s user interface. The company has modified the operating system so as to require proprietary maintenance of parts of the code, and at least a slightly different programming environment for third-party developers. (Before the tablet was launched Babbage suspected Amazon might go even further in tweaking Android; in the event, it opted for a less onerous solution.)
The full story is a great overview of how important ecosystems are and the structure around them, in this case open soruce communities and open and closed IP.