Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google is to start charging Android manufacturers for the right to pre-install its mobile applications in Europe as it seeks to comply with an European Union antitrust ruling it is in the process of appealing. 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.

"In fact, the decision is created to allow, for the first time, competing search and browser providers to compete on the merits with Google for pre-installation on Android devices, leading to greater choice for consumers".

Mobile industry executives have generally thought that Europeans have little interest in devices without Google apps.

The EU's main problem with Google isn't about Android specifically, but with the company's dominance of search traffic. In another major change, per CNBC, Google will also end restrictions on phone makers selling forked versions of Android.

Until now, Google insisted that if handset- and tablet-makers pre-installed apps such as YouTube and Google Maps, they also had to pre-load its web browser Chrome and Search apps. "We'll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements", Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google senior vice president, said in a blog post.

"That's been harder to do for Android licensees as a lot of the revenue from their devices has flowed to Google via things like Search and Maps". Google is also going to sell a separate license for Android device makers that want to use Google Search and Chrome but pair those with services from Google competitors.

These new rules will take effect on October 29.

Now that all Android software isn't free, only time will tell if device makers will ask consumers to cover the cost of licensing fees.

In making their decision, antitrust officials in Europe had said that Google's practice of tying the apps together could harm competition by giving Google a built-in advantage over new apps struggling to attract an audience.

Presently, it's unclear if every Android smartphone sold within Europe will require a license fee, or if the move will only apply to European companies. On Tuesday, it announced that manufacturers will soon have to pay a licensing fee to ship devices into the European Economic Area (EEA) with Google apps pre-installed.

"Android will remain free and open source", Lockheimer said. This was done so Google can comply with the EU Commission's anti-trust ruling.

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