Google to charge phone vendors for its Android apps in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Although Google has always allowed OEMs to pre-install other competitive services on Android smartphones and tablets, OEMs could not release Android devices with the Google suite of apps and devices without Google apps in the EAA.

The European Commission in July fined Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) for using the market dominance of its mobile software to hinder rivals in areas such as internet search.

Google says it will also unbundle Search and Chrome from the rest of the Google apps. Google is still appealing the initial ruling, which found that Google used Android to illegally dominate the search market, but for now Google will comply with the ruling and offer looser licensing agreements to Android device makers.

The way OEMs ship Android on devices in Europe will be quite different going forward, as Google explains in a new blog post. One of the things the company will do is to start charging smartphone makers a licensing fee to use Google Play.

Google refused to specify the amount of the license fee or whether manufacturers would pass it along to customers. Android will remain free and open source. We'll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements. Instead of having Universal Windows Platform apps, Google is pushing for Chrome PWAs which can be pinned to the start menu and run almost the same as more traditional apps.

This rule really helped Google keep an iron grip over the Android OEMs, because it stopped them from even experimenting outside of the Google ecosystem.

This new license agreement is planned to go into effect on October 29th, 2018 for all new smartphones and tablets launched in Europe. The move reverses a previous policy which blocked manufacturers from offering its suite of apps on such devices.

The EU has also charged Google with shutting-out competitors by forcing major phone manufacturers including South Korea's Samsung and China's Huawei to pre-install its search engine and Google Chrome browser.

"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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