Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Google will start charging Android smartphone makers to use its apps

Google will start charging Android smartphone makers to use its apps

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's head of Android, said the company would begin to offer the licenses October 26, but he didn't say what the pricing would be. As part of this ruling, Google was told they needed to stop this behavior. The new arrangement opens doors for Google's web search and browser rivals such as Microsoft Corp but essentially leaves the USA tech giant's lucrative mobile business intact, analysts said. But Google's also putting its foot down to show just how much value it gives away for free as of today, with a suite of extremely popular and well-made apps that would typically cost companies millions of dollars to develop for themselves.

The company is taking the measures to comply with the July ruling by European Union authorities that found Google allegedly abused the dominance of Android to stifle competitors. The changes fall into two groups: how Google will handle Android licensing terms in the European Economic Area (EEA), and how it will handle licensing of its Google apps on top of Android. Failure to end the illegal business practices can result in additional fines.

"Device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser", said Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of platform and ecosystems at Google. 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.

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.

Google is ending a controversial practice in Europe where it requires smartphone makers seeking to pre-install Google's app store to also add other Google apps, such as 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". In exchange, the hardware companies no longer have to install Google search and the Google Chrome browser, though they can do so for free if they want to.

The way OEMs ship Android on devices in Europe will be quite different going forward, as Google explains in a new blog post.

Google is appealing this decision, but in the meantime it is enacting new rules to comply with it.

May 2014 - Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner at that time, says feedback from complainants will be crucial to determining whether he accepts Google's concessions.

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