Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

Google imposes Android app fees after huge Euro antitrust ruling

Google imposes Android app fees after huge Euro antitrust ruling

Android is the world's dominant mobile operating system, accounting for more than 85 per cent of the global smartphone market, but in July this year, the European Union concluded the negative aspects of Google's dominance and its licensing practices were hard to ignore. By forcing Google's hand to un-bundle its money-making Search and Chrome, manufacturers shipping Android in the EEA that decide to forego those apps, as the EC claims they want to do, will pay for the privilege.

"We have confirmed to the European Commission how we will comply with its recent decision on Android", said Al Verney, a spokesperson for Google in Brussels. Since Google can't force its apps on smartphone manufactures anymore, it is now finding another way to create revenue with the help of a licensing fee.

In addition, device manufacturers will now pay an unspecified license fee to have access to Google applications - such as Gmail or Youtube - that will come separately to the super dominant Google Search App or the Chrome browser.

The EU conducted a three-year investigation into Google which found the Mountain View-based company was using its Android operating system to marginalise rivals. If you produced any Android device without Google's apps, you got booted from the Google ecosystem. It also rolled back a controversial update that arrived with Chrome 69 which automatically signed people into their Google accounts within Chrome if they logged in to one of the company's services.

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Until now, Google has only allowed phone vendors to ship the Play Store app with their phones only if they abide by strict rules. Android will remain free and open source. In other words, Google is likely going to incentivize OEMs purchasing the full suite of Google products, probably by offering discounts. Another change will see more flexibility in devices with the Google apps preloaded. Google Play Store brings million of apps and customization to Android.

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

"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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