'MyTablet' maker enters liquidation after Argos withholds £3.2m over lack of GMS license, The Guardian reports
Penryth, Wales-based hardware maker KMS has entered liquidation after a row with high street retailer Argos over use of Google Mobile Services on tablets without the proper license, according to The Guardian. KMS manufactured Argos' £99 "MyTablet" slate — released late last year along with a flurry of other low-priced Android tablets from UK retailers — as well as other low-cost Android tablets.
The newspaper reports that Argos withheld payments of £3.2 million ($5.3 million) from KMS after it discovered the company had loaded Google Mobile Services — the package including Maps, Gmail and the Play Store — onto its tablets without a license from Google. While the core Android OS is free and open-source, Google's proprietary services and apps are not, and manufacturers must obtain a GMS license in order to legally load them onto devices.
KMS sources speaking to The Guardian claim that Argos refused to let them obtain licensing from Google after the fact, or remove the offending software from devices. A former KMS director is quoted as saying "it is highly unlikely the company will ever come back." A statement from Argos said the chain was "deeply disappointed that [KMS] breached certain provisions in their agreement to supply products," adding that it was unable to comment further due to "potential legal proceedings."
The shuttering of KMS has resulted in more than 70 job losses, according to today's report.
The Argos MyTablet isn't the only super-cheap Android tablet to find itself in hot water over failure running Google apps without the appropriate license. Back in November, Carphone Warehouse's £49 "Avoca" tablet was reportedly withdrawn from sale after manufacturer STB Developments was found to have loaded Google apps on the slate without a GMS license.
Source: The Guardian