Alibaba courts developers with CNY1B fund

Alibaba courts developers with CNY1B fund

16 APR 2013

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba announced a CNY1 billion ($162 million) fund intended to drive developer support for its Alibaba Mobile Operating System (formerly Aliyun), having largely failed to generate any traction for the platform with its earlier efforts.

The company said that it will “funnel funds to apps makers through revenue sharing and other incentives or rewards”. Other details of the programme are “not available”.

To date, Aliyun is best known as the source of a spat involving Alibaba, Google and hardware maker Acer. It was reported that Acer had been told that if the launch went ahead, “Google would terminate Android product cooperation and related technical authorisation” for the vendor.

The issue is that Aliyun was similar to, but not the same, as Android, with Google’s Andy Rubin stating that the company’s actions were motivated by its “responsibility to app developers”.

“If apps don’t run well across devices due to incompatibilities, consumers would leave the ecosystem, followed by developers. The end of the virtuous cycle,” he argued at the time.

Reports last year also said that the Aliyun store had been found to be distributing pirated apps, including titles that had been copied from Google’s Play store without developer consent.

Alibaba this week announced a “reboot” of its mobile platform activities, while noting that it has “been unable to attract marquee manufacturers to adopt the OS since its debut in July 2012”.

The company announced devices from five vendors vendors – Konka, Zopo, Amoi, G’Five and Little Pepper – which use the platform

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Steve Costello

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