Google will now charge for its Android app suite in Europe

Saul Franklin
October 18, 2018

Google said Tuesday in a blog post today that it will no longer require EU-based mobile-device makers that use Android to accept a bundle of the company's apps.

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.

Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system.

While Google may be shooting for the native experience, there is no getting away from the fact that its implementation remains a Chrome browser window shorn of fripperies such as tabs and toolbars. Since Google can't force its apps on smartphone manufactures anymore, it is now finding another way to create revenue with the help of a licensing fee.

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 another major change, per CNBC, Google will also end restrictions on phone makers selling forked versions of Android.

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But if Google had failed to ensure compliance with the Commission decision, it would be liable to fines of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

At last, there are also Progressive Web Apps on Windows instead of the Chrome apps that Google killed earlier this year, the new decoder, and so on. While Android OS will remain open-source and free, the actual Google apps that make it tick will have to be purchased.

The European Union has argued that Google abused their mobile market dominance with the Android operating system to promote its own mobile-advertising services over its rivals, as part of the E.U.'s decision on the issue it ordered Google to stop forcing phone manufacturers to pre-install Google apps such as Google Search on their devices. They are unlikely to be cheap for any company that wants the suite of applications but not the Google Search App.

It has not stated how much the new fees will be or whether consumers should expect a significant rise to device prices as a effect. Device-makers are yet to comment on the changes, though the fear will undoubtedly be that licensing fees - the costs of which have not been disclosed at this stage - will be passed through to buyers themselves.

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