However, as a counterpoint, here is a far less histrionic story which shows that AOSP is growing FASTER than Goog'es own Android
Except you left out the part that says AOSP is growing faster than Google Android only in China and India.
As for the Ars Technica article, it's not histrionics to state facts:
Google apps—mainly Gmail, Maps, Google Now, Hangouts, YouTube, and the Play Store -- are Android's killer apps, and manufacturers want these apps on their phones.
While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google's Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. Joining the OHA requires a company to promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.
Acer was bit by this requirement when it tried to build devices that ran Alibaba's Aliyun OS in China. Aliyun is an Android fork, and when Google got wind of it, Acer was told to shut the project down or lose its access to Google apps.
This makes life extremely difficult for the only company brazen enough to sell an Android fork in the west: Amazon.
Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops. Amazon doesn't have many other choices.