Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google's solution to the European Union order puts more distance between its mobile app store, through which millions of Android users may discover and install new apps, and the many sister apps that help sustain Google's deep relationships with customers.

Google's Android operating system controls more than 80 per cent of the world's mobile market share. The core Android OS is free and open source-anyone can take it and do whatever they want with it without Google's involvement.

But one effect of the move, Google said, was that manufactures would face a new fee.

"The new arrangement simply changes the implicit exchange of value - access to the Play store in return for preinstaling Google Search and Chrome - into an explicit one", of license fees, said James Cordwell, a financial analyst at Atlantic Equities.

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

Forked versions of Android haven't really performed well apart from China, where most Google services are banned. This summer, the European Commission ruled that strategy to be anti-competitive. Android itself will remain free, as will Chrome as it is bundled with the Google Search app, but everything else will be chargeable.

The most important change Google announced today will be new fees OEMs will have to pay to pre-install Google services on Android devices.

Google is ending a controversial practice in Europe where it requires smartphone makers seeking to pre-install Google's app store to also add other Google apps, such as search and Chrome. They are unlikely to be cheap for any company that wants the suite of applications but not the Google Search App. Google has now filed an appeal against the ruling, continuing to argue that Android helps competition rather than hinder it.

In order to give OEMs a break, Google says it will offer "new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome".

For any decent phone vendor, the Play Store app is a must.

While it's always great to see that big businesses can be held accountable for their operations, in practice there is a chance that Android phones will see an increase in price, with manufacturers offloading the addition cost of licensing onto the consumers.

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