Speaking to The Verge, Jha said that "Verizon and AT&T don't want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves," because there needs to be differentiation in the market in order to turn a profit. He went on to say that the majority of the changes Motorola makes to the OS are at the behest of the carriers.
So, it's the carriers that want you to have the bloatware that brings with it security flaws and vulnerabilities.
The carriers' insistence on having a 'customized' Android install doesn't explain why Motorola is dragging its heels on shipping devices with unlocked bootloaders (or maybe it does ... maybe Motorola wants to please the carriers and stop the end users from fiddling with the handset.).
Over on Daring Fireball, John Gruber compares how the three major smartphone players approach selling handsets:
Android handset makers: Here are our phones. How would you like us to change them so that you will sell them?
Microsoft: Here’s $200 million. Please sell our phones.
Apple: Here is our new phone. It comes in black or white. We will let you sell it.
The issue here is that the carriers (and in many ways the handset makers) are all competing against each other for sales, and the only ways to stand out are price and features. While an iPhone sale is money in the bank for Apple, the only surefire winners when it comes to Android handset sales are Google and Microsoft. Everyone else has to work hard for a piece of the pie.
Android's openness seems to be more for the benefit of the carriers rather than the end user.
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