New Google policy could raise the price of Android phones

Marion JacobsOct 17, 2018

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.

Google has announced changes in how European smartphone and tablet makers can use Google's Android apps in response to the EU's $5 billion fine. The new arrangement opens doors for Google's web search and browser rivals such as Microsoft Corp but essentially leaves the United States tech giant's lucrative mobile business intact, analysts said. Forked devices with the Play Store may be more interesting though.

The European Commission announced the penalty in July, after ruling that the U.S. company had been using Android to illegally "cement its dominant position" in search.

Details are still few about what the financial consequences of this move will be for Google, which is going to start selling a license for a package that includes Gmail, YouTube, Maps and the Google Play store.

In an effort to placate Europe's regulators furious at its anticompetitive tactics, Google has overhauled its Android licensing practices for the continent.

Under the new European rules, detailed by Google's senior vice president of platforms Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android phone makers that want to sell devices with Google services pre-installed in Europe will need to pay a licensing fee to Google.

Google shuts down Google+ following massive security flaw
The API in question, allowed developers access to the public data of the users who signed up to use the app that used that API. As for Google +, the search giant won't miss it that much because the site never got off the ground with end users.

Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system. Google will also offer commercial licenses to European companies that wish to pre-install Google Search and the company's Chrome browser. The company has not specified the amount of the licensing fees.

What this will ultimately mean is that we will likely see device makers picking and choosing the apps that will be bundled with their devices, with users forced to download the remaining apps separately.

By being forced to put an end to this practice, Google now says they'll have to charge licensing fees for Android device makers who want to pre-install their apps and services on an individual basis.

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.

Google's new approach to licensing will now allow the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG to create flagships that run an OS separate to base Android, though we doubt many companies will do that.

And as a result of that sudden disappearance of revenue, Google is unwilling to let Android manufacturers use Gmail, Google Play, Maps, and so on, for free, so it will charge a fee for including that code.

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