Google to Charge for Apps on Android Phones in Europe


Today, Google announced a number of licensing changes its making as a result of the European Union antitrust decision that came down in July.

Google is also splitting up the licenses for Android, the Google Search app, and Chrome. Since they will stop bundling these apps with Android, the company will start charging a licensing fee to make up for it.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. The EC took particular umbrage with Google's requirements to include several Google apps as a bundle, and that licensees making Google-sanctioned Android devices were forbidden from making non-Google-licensed (aka "forked") Android devices. Android device makers will now be able to license Google's suite of mobile apps (Gmail, Maps, Photos, etc.) separately from Google Search and Google Chrome, which were both previously required.

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.

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Today, in a blog post, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President for Platforms & Ecosystems at Google, said the company is now taking steps to comply with the EU's decision and adjusting its policy by introducing app licensing fees.

This will also hopefully appease Google competitors which complained the current business model stifled competition to such an extent other products couldn't even hope to compete. This was done so Google can comply with the EU Commission's anti-trust ruling. Alphabet, Google's parent company, makes nearly 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from search and advertising.

The coming weeks will reveal whether Google's appeal is accepted or the original decision is enacted, but Google plans on placing the above licensing changes into effect on October 29 regardless.

For the first time in its history, Google will no longer force manufacturers to sign agreements related to pre-installing nearly all Google apps.