Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Joanna Estrada
October 16, 2018

The crux of the EC's decision earlier this year was its opinion that Google was taking advantage of its position as a dominant operating system to be unfriendly to companies making Android devices.

Presently, it's unclear if every Android smartphone sold within Europe will require a license fee, or if the move will only apply to European companies.

Last week, Google appealed the EU's biggest ever anti-trust fine, saying that Android had "created more choice, not less". The company has always stood by the argument that manufacturers are not required to include Google apps.

USA tech giant Google will charge smartphone makers a licensing fee for using its popular Google Play app store and also allow them to use rival versions of its Android mobile operating system to comply with an European Union antitrust order. For example a company could make a regular Android phone with full Google certification, and also an Android tablet with its own version of the OS and no Google apps or services.

For Google, the change is a major shift for its mobile business. In fact, these companies will now also be allowed to license Google's apps too, something that was previously not possible.

Since the revenue from including Search and Chrome helped fund development for Android, the exclusion of those two apps means that Google will now be charging a licensing fee for the Google app suite (which includes the Play Store and other Google services that define most Android devices).

"Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser", the announcement continues. The side-effect of free apps is it's hard for alternatives to compete.

Google has appealed the decision, arguing that the EU's accusations were unfounded, but on Wednesday said it would comply with the decision in order to avoid further fines.

Realistically, this probably won't change much for most Android devices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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