Who Owns Android?
Android is a software package and a Linux-based operating system specially designed for touch-screen mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by the co-arrangement of developers called Open Handset Alliance (OHA), sponsored by Google.
Android is an open-source project, and because of its properties and nature, it has no owners, but it has only contributors, hosts, and maintainers. However, Google is the largest contributor to Android, but it continues to opt-out of all its contributions. So we can say that everybody and nobody owns an Android.
The Android operating system was first developed by a software company named Android Inc., which was based in Silicon Valley before being acquired by Google in 2005. It was exposed in November 2007 and launched the first trading purpose Android smartphone in September 2008.
The Android platform was released under the Apache 2.0 license, and it is responsible for the copyright of the Android Open Source project. The Apache Foundation permits and grants licenses for software uses and distribution by the copyright under the Android Open Source Project.
As Google owns Android at a basic level; however, many software companies share their responsibilities for the OS. There is no such company that fully defines the device operating system on every phone.
Who owns Android, really?
If you simply want to know who owns Android in a single word, then there is no doubt, the name is Google. It bought Android, Inc. in 2005 and provided huge support and help to the Android operating system before the first Android smartphone (T-Mobile G1) arrived in the market for commercial purposes in 2008. So the name Google comes as a primary developer for the Android OS and works on key proprietary elements such as Google Play Services.
Google is also core responsible for the releases of the primary AOSP project. While other software companies are free to modify, contribute, and improve to the AOSP source code, they are not going to perform the major task. Unlike the decentralized Linux, Google eventually runs the Android operating system, even if it is not the one that owns every last code.
Who else has a stake in Android OS?
After Google releases the AOSP version, ownership becomes more complex. The operating system is owned by Google at its main level on many Android devices but is often the product of heavy customization by manufacturer partners. All this shows that Android is owned by Google and a member of the Open Handset Alliance (including Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and other companies that manufacture Android devices).
Amazon's Fire OS is a different version of AOSP that does not use any non-free components of Google. It is also fairly common for Chinese vendors such as Huawei, who cannot use Google-owned apps in their native country, to develop highly customized Android versions where Google plays relatively little role.
It does not leave Google completely out of the circle. Companies such as Amazon and Huawei often release their Android operating system near Google's updates release. However, it is not the responsibility of Google to maintain those platforms. In that case, the owners of Android is decided by who is using the operating system.
You can also use, modify, redistribute, subdivide, or privately use source code; you cannot use the Android trademark without complying with Google policy. Besides all Open Handset Alliance greatly contributes to Android progress, Google owns the copyright to the open-source project.
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