Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Google will now charge for its Android app suite in Europe

The company has always stood by the argument that manufacturers are not required to include 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.

Companies can now make licensed Android builds while also shipping forked builds in Europe.
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.

For Google, the change is a major shift for its mobile business.

In addition, device manufacturers will now pay an unspecified license fee to have access to Google applications - such as Gmail or Youtube - that will come separately to the super dominant Google Search App or the Chrome browser. The lack of Google Search and Chrome on some devices in Europe aren't a big deal, since most people will just switch to Google Search anyway.

It all sounds good, and more choices for manufacturers is a bonus.

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Google formally offered its solutions to avoid more European Union mega-fines Wednesday, after Brussels accused the USA tech giant of illegally abusing the dominance of its Android operating system for mobile devices. If a company in the EEA wants to make Android devices with Google apps, sans Search and Chrome, it will now have to pay for the privilege.

Who wins in this situation?

Google is appealing this decision, but in the meantime it is enacting new rules to comply with it. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai argued that users could easily install alternatives to Google's apps if they wanted.

The changes will apply on October 29 for all new smartphones and tablets sold in the EEA.

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