Google to charge OEMs in Europe for Android apps to comply with the EU
Google and the EU have been battling it out for a while now. Last time we reported on the situation, Google had been fined $5 billion for antitrust violations. The European Commision claims Google’s practice of pre-installing apps like Search and Chrome on Android make it difficult for the competition. The company has always stood by the argument that manufacturers are not required to include Google apps.
In an official blog post by Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms & Ecosystems, the company has outlined their plan to comply with the EC. Lockheimer says the pre-installation of apps helped fund the free distribution of Android. Since they will stop bundling these apps with Android, the company will start charging a licensing fee to make up for it.
One bundle will include the Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. Another bundle will include Google Search and Chrome. Manufacturers who wish to ship phones and tablets with these apps in the European Economic Area will have to pay the licensing fee.
Obviously, this marks a big shift for the company, who has famously offered their apps and services for free. It has always been clear why they don’t charge for these services. It’s valuable to the company to have as many users as possible. The side-effect of free apps is it’s hard for alternatives to compete. Now, manufacturers in the EU will have to pay for the apps their customers want. This new licensing model will go into effect on October 29th.