Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play Store in Europe

Google will charge phone makers to use Android apps in Europe

Google is dropping restrictions it imposed on Android-device-makers, following a clash with the EU. Since they will stop bundling these apps with Android, the company will start charging a licensing fee to make up for it.

Forked versions of Android haven't really performed well apart from China, where most Google services are banned.

It's among measures the company is taking to comply with the July ruling by European Union authorities that found Google allegedly abused the dominance of Android to stifle competitors, even as it appeals the decision.

In fact, we suspect many phone makers will cough up for the fee and stick with Google's suite of services as they are now something people expect as a standard for Android, given how well all of Google's services integrate on more modern Android versions.

The upshot of all this is that while gadget slingers will be able to ship phones without Google Search and Chrome builtin, they'll have to pay to license Google's other mobile apps - and some will be regarded as non-negotiable by consumers (Gmail, Maps, and Google Play, for example).

Last week, Google appealed the EU's biggest ever anti-trust fine, saying that Android had "created more choice, not less". On Tuesday, it announced that manufacturers will soon have to pay a licensing fee to ship devices into the European Economic Area (EEA) with Google apps pre-installed.

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Earlier this year, the European watchdog fined the search giant $5 billion for the for the illegal monopolization of online services on the Android platform.

These new rules will take effect on October 29.

Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system. 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 commission typically lets companies tweak compliance efforts as feedback comes in from customers and rivals.

'Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the EEA, ' Lockheimer said.

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.

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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