Google Complies With EU, Will Charge More for Android in Europe

Posted on October 16, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Android, Google, Mobile with 35 Comments

In July, Google was slapped with a huge $5 billion antitrust fine by the EU for Android. The company is now in the process of appealing to the European Commission while making significant changes to the way it distributes Android.

TL;DR: it’s going to start charging Android manufacturers a fee for its apps in Europe.

Android manufacturers in Europe will now be able to sell Android devices without needing to bundle Google apps like Google Search, Chrome, or Play Store. And if they do want to include any of these apps, they will have to pay to license these apps separately for their devices. That means if a manufacturer — say, OnePlus —  wants to include the Google Play Store on its next flagship phone, it will be required to pay an additional fee.

Google is also responding to the European Commission’s complaint about the company preventing manufacturers that make devices with Android forks from bundling its apps. With the new paid licensing program, any Android manufacturer will be able to license Google apps — including the Play Store — for devices that run Android forks. A major, much-needed change here, even though it comes at an extra cost.

Here’s the thing, though: Google charging manufacturers an additional fee for bundling its apps is just another example of the company abusing its power. “Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source,” Google said in a blog post. In reality, though, the extra fee manufacturers have to pay for bundling Google apps will most likely be passed on to us, the consumers. And that’s probably going to lead to an additional increase in the price of your next Android phone.

Plus, let’s not even consider the possibility of manufacturers making phones without Google apps — a new Android device with no Google Play Store is practically dead on arrival.

Google’s new policy goes live on October 29. Look out for a response from the European Commission sometime soon.

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Google Complies With EU, Will Charge More for Android in Europe”

  1. prjman

    Wouldn't this imply that a manufacturer could create a forked Android that contained the Play Store from Google, and ONLY the Play Store from Google? I'm sure another company, say MS, would be happy to cover that fee provided they then default to Edge, Cortana, MS Launcher, etc.?

  2. lordbaal1

    I thought Android is supposed to be free to developers? To have to pay to bundle Google own apps, means that it is not totally free.

    Just another revenue source for Google.

  3. illuminated

    I think that this is good and costs and profits should be in their respective areas. If google is getting paid for my info then I want to be paid as well. If google is paying for something and giving it to me for free then why no charge me? We got too complacent. Good tech cannot get ahead if it is not bundled with some sleazy marketing scheme.

  4. Mike Brady

    Like Washington, Brussels ruins everything it touches.

  5. conan007

    Android phones in China don't have Play Store (or at least functioning Play Store), which is of course due to entirely different reasons, but there are no usage issues with Android phones in China.

  6. maethorechannen

    Google charging manufacturers an additional fee for bundling its apps is just another example of the company abusing its power.

    No matter what Google does they'll be accused of abusing power. If they don't charge it's still an abuse of power because manufacturers will still gravitate to Google over other options even if they don't have to, especially if the Google apps are free.

    In reality, though, the extra fee manufacturers have to pay for bundling Google apps will most likely be passed on to us, the consumers.

    Yes. Why would anyone expect anything else?

  7. wright_is

    According to other reports, it is just Chrome and Search that are being removed, everything else remains...

    But it is junk like GMail, Google+, Photos, Google Drive, Maps etc. that I have no use form, that I don't want on my device.

    Edit: Aha, they don't get Search and Chrome and have to pay for the rest. Hopefully, there will be a decent device with none of the Google services pre-installed.

  8. nbplopes

    This move is good news for MS. It allow them to legally make and distribute Windroid without Google Play and replace with a Windows Store. It will also allow Samsung to make the same thing.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to nbplopes: Wasn't anything stopping them from doing that before. No requirement to install the Play Store on Android Open Source, or a fork of it. The requirement was, if Store, you did the rest. The problem is, if you don't have the Play Store the app catalog is kind of limited. Actually sort of happened before. Nokia, almost under MS, made Android phones that didn't have the Play Store. Had a Nokia Store, you could download the Yandex store and others. Guess what? Failed.

      • spacein_vader

        In reply to SvenJ:

        What stopped them before is that if you wanted to make such a device, you couldn't sell ANY devices that did have Google's services alongside it. Either all your phone's have Google apps or none of them do. The crucial part of this change is that's no longer the case. Samsung can now sell a Google edition galaxy and a Samsung edition one. So can anyone else.

    • skane2600

      In reply to nbplopes:

      Windroid is a tool for rooting Android devices.

    • anchovylover

      In reply to nbplopes:

      Only in the EU for now. Let's see how the average man/woman/transgender in the street reacts to this.

      Imagine being stuck with MS Store on a mobile device...What could go wrong!

  9. madthinus

    Having your cake and eating it too.

  10. RobertJasiek

    @arknu, the EU sometimes enforces fair competition, which would be good if it always did so. Competition drops prices in the mid-term. In the short-term, Google continues to abuse its power. Do not blame the EU for this, except for acting several years too late.

    However, Google has a right to earn some money. It is an interesting question whether it may charge for the Play Store though.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      Charging for the Play Store is a bit sketchy. And if the Google apps are available for free in the Play Store, how can Google justifiably charge for them to be preinstalled?

      The reason they want to charge for Play is they want to charge for their apps to be installed.

      But the reality is they make money off the data they mine from their apps, so charging for them is contrary to their purpose.

      I propose a middle ground: All apps that are purchased from Google, including Play Store, cannot have any data shared with Google at all - location data, etc. Since the apps are paid for, Google is not allowed to collect that information. If Google wants to collect that data, they have to offer them free to all - to even have the option to collect that data.

  11. valisystem

    Samsung has been trying to create its own ecosystem of apps for a long time but has also been required to include Google's apps. The result has been the mess of duplicative apps on Samsung phones. Now it has a chance to find out if people will be happy if they only get Samsung apps installed and set as the default.

    I wonder if it really wants to know the answer?

  12. Daekar

    I wonder if this means my next Samsung device will only have the Play Store on it, and no other Google bloat? Wouldn't that be a refreshing change?

  13. harmjr

    I wish they would have went the opposite way and required the top 3 store apps to be installed. Like Amazon's, Samsung's and Google Play. Install Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Edge. So now you can scream at me for wanting bloat ware on a new machine HA!

  14. arknu

    So what do we get from the EU? More expensive phones. And nothing much else.

  15. sharpsone

    Let's them charge for their invasive apps, it will only open the door for MS and others to capitalize on Googles mistake. I try to shorten googles reach on my devices by disabling the majority of their services and default apps.

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