Google's Android Apps Are No Longer Free for European Smartphone Makers

Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Google will charge phone makers to use Android apps in Europe

The licensing fees aren't available for each app alone but for the Google mobile application suite as a whole, which includes all the Google apps, except the Chrome and Search apps, which will be offered under separate licensing fees. The EC's stipulation that companies were being hindered by their inability to ship devices with forked versions of Android is of dubious merit, and now there's a very real possibility that Google-sanctioned devices - a vast majority of Androids sold in the EEA - will cost more when they hit store shelves.

The European Commission in July hit Google with its biggest ever fine, imposing a 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) penalty, giving the USA tech giant 90 days to change its practices. Lockheimer says the pre-installation of apps helped fund the free distribution of Android.

The result, critics said, has given Google vast staying power and a massive core audience whose personal data Google uses to maintain its dominant position in online advertising.

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.

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Google Search has been a key component of Android since the OS was first released, and Chrome has become increasingly important in recent years.

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. This was done so Google can comply with the EU Commission's anti-trust ruling. "And of course, we remain deeply committed to continued innovation for the Android ecosystem".

European Union antitrust enforcers in their July decision said Google's anti-competitive behavior, which dated to 2011, included forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser together with its Google Play app store on their Android devices.

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.

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