Friday, 16 November, 2018

Google introduces licensing costs for Android manufacturers

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines
Olivia Ford | 18 October, 2018, 03:30

There will be a separate license for Google Search and Chrome.

The company said the licensing fees will offset revenue lost because of its compliance efforts.

The changes will apply on October 29 for all new smartphones and tablets sold in the EEA. The company argued that giving away its open-source operating system resulted in cheaper phones and more competition with chief rival Apple.

Realistically, this probably won't change much for most Android devices.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will soon start charging smartphone manufacturers in Europe to pre-install Google-owned apps such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps on their devices. Forked Android is also allowed in China, because Google doesn't offer Google apps for that country.

For the first time in its history, Google will charge Android phone makers that want to sell devices with the Google Play Store and other apps pre-installed.

Google is revamping its requirements for pre-installed Google services on Android to comply with new regulations.

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. That led to the decision to offer them all for free, including the Play Store itself, but following the EC's ruling Google has now had to offer the apps and services as paid-for options instead. The one catch here is that Google is only opening this up to companies distributing to the EEA, meaning any devices would have a significantly limited market to sell in. So now, you could theoretically see a phone that had Gmail and Google Maps, but with Microsoft's Bing search engine and Mozilla Firefox with no sign of Google Search or Chrome at all. They are unlikely to be cheap for any company that wants the suite of applications but not the Google Search App. More than 80 percent of all smartphones run Android, as do more than 24,000 different kinds of devices. It's replicating Google Play Services, a massive set of Google APIs that many developers choose to use in their apps. Outside of the Google ecosystem, all of that stops working.

Google is still appealing the initial ruling, so this isn't all written in stone yet.

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