Google's Android Apps Are No Longer Free for European Smartphone Makers

Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Google just announced it has filed an appeal with the European Commission (EC) following a $5 billion fine from July related to its licensing terms for Android and Google apps. 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.

One bundle will include the Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. This means OEMs in the European Union can now sell Android phones without Search or Chrome. Fortunately, these companies won't need to license all of them.

The most significant change from the manufacturer side is that Google will now allow companies that make Android devices with Google apps to also make other Android devices with their own "forked" versions of the operating system and no Google apps.

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

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). The European Commision claims Google's practice of pre-installing apps like Search and Chrome on Android make it hard for the competition.

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Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome.

"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. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours. He then goes on to list a number of changes Google will make in order to comply with the ruling while waiting for the appeal to be heard.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets.

These new rules will take effect on October 29.

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