Google to charge phone vendors for its Android apps in Europe

Laverne Mann
October 17, 2018

The EC took particular umbrage with Google's requirements to include several Google apps as a bundle, and that licensees making Google-sanctioned Android devices were forbidden from making non-Google-licensed (aka "forked") Android devices.

European Union regulators decided it was unfair for Google to force smartphone makers that used Android to also install its apps.

Desktop progressive web apps can be "installed" on the user's device much like native apps.

The European Commission announced the penalty in July, after ruling that the USA company had been using Android to illegally "cement its dominant position" in search. While Android remains free, and open source, manufacturers will be expected to cough up a fee to include the Google Play store, since they'll also be able to include it - and the Google mobile application suite - separately from the Search App and Chrome.

In an effort to placate Europe's regulators furious at its anticompetitive tactics, Google has overhauled its Android licensing practices for the continent.

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Today, in a blog post, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President for Platforms & Ecosystems at Google, said the company is now taking steps to comply with the EU's decision and adjusting its policy by introducing app licensing fees. The downside for device manufacturers is that Google will now charge for many of its most popular apps according to its new "paid licensing agreement" for smartphones and tablets.

This is all because the European Commission fined the internet advertising giant €4.34bn ($5bn) in mid-July for breaking EU anti-trust laws.

These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. Google is also going to sell a separate license for Android device makers that want to use Google Search and Chrome but pair those with services from Google competitors. The lack of Google Search and Chrome on some devices in Europe aren't a big deal, since most people will just switch to Google Search anyway. Regardless, the extra cost involved in creating these devices could ultimately push prices up slightly although, at this point in time, the new fee being charge remains unclear. This summer, the European Commission ruled that strategy to be anti-competitive. But we will likely see more companies experimenting with Google-free Android from here on out.

The European Commission said it is up to Google to decide how to comply with the July ruling and that the regulator will closely monitor the changes.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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