Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Kristin Zimmerman

Google announces that it will begin charging Android manufacturers for its apps

Google announces that it will begin charging Android manufacturers for its apps

In order to avoid additional penalties while its appeal of the fine is pending, Google has announced that it will begin allowing manufacturers to ship Android phones without any of its apps or the Google Play Store. Since they will stop bundling these apps with Android, the company will start charging a licensing fee to make up for it.

In a blogpost detailing the solution, Google said it would change existing practice and allow smartphone and tablet makers - such as Samsung or Huawei - to create non-Android compliant phones in parallel to compliant ones.

In an effort to placate Europe's regulators furious at its anticompetitive tactics, Google has overhauled its Android licensing practices for the continent. "As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours", added Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems at Google.

It said the requirement that some manufacturers preinstall Google applications as a condition for licensing the Google Play store, as well as the payments made to other, larger phone makers and operators for pre-installing the Google search app on devices were helping to cement the company's search leadership. That means devices can be sold in the region with Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Play, and so on, but no Google Search app and Chrome.

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.

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

Its new measures will see Android manufacturers build "forked" versions of their devices for European markets while still being able to use Google's applications.

Secondly, Google will offer commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome.

The Android operating itself will remain free and open source.

This new license agreement is planned to go into effect on October 29th, 2018 for all new smartphones and tablets launched in Europe.

Such a fee is likely an attempt to offset some of the moolah Google will lose from not having its Play Store and search services as default on some handsets or tablets.

"The big challenge for phone-makers is to try to replicate the success that Apple has had with monetising its devices after they have been bought, which it has done by selling services such as iCloud storage and Apple Music".

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