December 3, 2014 by ...
The following is an interesting comment spurred on by this article. The commentor claims that Xiaomi not only knocks off hardware, but software as well. The essence of the comment is that Xiaomi’s MIUI proprietary operating system piggy bakcs off the Android system but violates the terms of its use. The commentor states that Xiaomi does not share its source code, which is illegal per the Android GPL.
If this is true, then it is one more nail in the coffin of Xiaomi as they venture into countries which more closely follow the rule of law, especially in terms of Intellectual Property (IP).
I am amazed and disappointed to see an Economist article on Xiaomi that failed to address the key issue of their potential illegality as IP violators.
Since Xiaomi modifies Google Android extensively with their own proprietary MIUI (now v. 5) system, they are required by the GPL license governing Android to make available their source code. However, they have reportedly chosen to keep the MIUI kernel as closed source. Essentially, it is my understanding, that under U.S. and European law Xiaomi is in violation of its licensing agreements and hence subject to legal sanction. This is not a small problem for Xiaomi, as referring to any of the dozens of articles found across the web on it will readily indicate.
Why the Economist chooses to highlight and portray positively what appears to be one of the major IP scofflaws in China is a mystery to me.
Finally, rhetorical license aside, the article verges on outright offensiveness when it opines “Apple takes an almost Stalinist approach to its handsets”. I urge you to reflect whether you really want to associate a company with some 700 million users globally who choose to buy its products with a mass murderer, best known for running a brutal prison system.