We've recently seen details of the case between Apple and Samsung. But while that case had been between those two companies, the Google name was frequently included. And quite often the term MADA came up in relation to Google and Samsung. MADA stands for Mobile Application Distribution Agreement and it lists the rules and requirements when it comes to putting out an Android device.
In short, the MADA lists requirements such as how manufacturers (such as Samsung) will need to install all of the Google Android apps -- even if they only wanted to install one of those apps. Other points included in this agreement touch on the default home screen setup. Re/code, who recently shared details for the HTC and Samsung MADA mentioned how the agreement states Google must be the default search option and also where the applications are initially displayed.
One specific example included how the “Google Phone-top Search and the Android Market Client icon must be placed at least on the panel immediately adjacent to the Default Home Screen” and that all other Google apps “will be placed no more than one level below the Phone Top.”
Of course, it is worth mentioning these details are coming from a document that isn't brand new. In fact, these examples are being pulled from a 2011 agreement. Google did not comment on how the MADA has changed in the time since, but it seems to go without saying that it has stuck around.
While Google is making certain requirements, they are also offering something else. The MADA also agrees to indemnify device makers using those apps. This goes back to why Google was covering Samsung's defense on a pair of patents. Those who choose not to follow these Google rules always have the option to use the open-source version of Android.
Anyway, strict or otherwise, there isn't much surprise in learning that Google makes the manufacturers follow certain rules. But at the same time, it is somewhat interesting to see those rules and then think back to how your device looked at first boot.