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

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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Conversation 35 comments

  • prjman

    16 October, 2018 - 2:34 pm

    <p>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.?</p>

    • Daekar

      16 October, 2018 - 2:47 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353887">In reply to prjman:</a></em></blockquote><p>That sounds ideal. I can install the things from the Store that I care about and leave the rest off.</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      16 October, 2018 - 2:51 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353887">In reply to prjman:</a></em></blockquote><p>That's exactly what it means. It also means the phones will be even more expensive.</p>

  • arknu

    Premium Member
    16 October, 2018 - 2:35 pm

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

  • harmjr

    Premium Member
    16 October, 2018 - 2:36 pm

    <p>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!</p>

    • maethorechannen

      Premium Member
      17 October, 2018 - 5:59 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353889">In reply to harmjr:</a></em></blockquote><p>Why would Motorola, Huawei or Nokia want Samsung's store on their phones?</p>

  • Daekar

    16 October, 2018 - 2:48 pm

    <p>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?</p>

  • valisystem

    Premium Member
    16 October, 2018 - 2:49 pm

    <p>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. </p><p><br></p><p>I wonder if it really wants to know the answer? </p>

  • RobertJasiek

    16 October, 2018 - 3:02 pm

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

    • jrickel96

      16 October, 2018 - 4:50 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353904">In reply to RobertJasiek:</a></em></blockquote><p>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?</p><p><br></p><p>The reason they want to charge for Play is they want to charge for their apps to be installed.</p><p><br></p><p>But the reality is they make money off the data they mine from their apps, so charging for them is contrary to their purpose.</p><p><br></p><p>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.</p>

      • lvthunder

        Premium Member
        16 October, 2018 - 6:15 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#353946">In reply to jrickel96:</a></em></blockquote><p>They are charging because it's going to cost them money to comply with the EU's demands. Part of the demands are not all the apps have to be there. So they can't data mine if the app isn't there. So they charge for the apps that are there to make up for the ones that aren't.</p><p><br></p><p>I would like to see your middle ground work with cable companies. They get money from advertisers and me at the same time.</p>

      • maethorechannen

        Premium Member
        17 October, 2018 - 5:55 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#353946">In reply to jrickel96:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>If they don't charge then it's also sketchy as it's not fair to other app stores – it would be Google abusing it's dominance in Android app stores (because what manufacturer wouldn't install the worlds biggest and most used Android app store, especially if it's free).</p>

      • Winner

        17 October, 2018 - 4:39 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#353946">In reply to jrickel96:</a></em></blockquote><p>The play store isn't free to Google, why shouldn't they charge for that software and service?</p>

        • Alastair Cooper

          18 October, 2018 - 9:22 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#354340">In reply to Winner:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>They make money when people buy products through the Play Store. Like any other store that doesn't charge for access but rather for the products it serves.</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    16 October, 2018 - 3:34 pm

    <p>Having your cake and eating it too. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    16 October, 2018 - 3:34 pm

    <p>Good job Europe. ??</p>

  • nbplopes

    16 October, 2018 - 5:42 pm

    <p>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.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • SvenJ

      Premium Member
      16 October, 2018 - 8:19 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#353951"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a><em> W</em>asn'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.</blockquote><p><br></p>

      • spacein_vader

        Premium Member
        17 October, 2018 - 4:12 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#353996">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>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. </p>

        • maethorechannen

          Premium Member
          17 October, 2018 - 5:49 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#354092">In reply to spacein_vader:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I think the likelihood of Samsung or anyone else selling a non Google phone alongside Google versions in the EU is so low it's practically nil. All this is going to do is increase the cost of phones and do sweet FA about Google's dominance over anything.</p>

    • anchovylover

      17 October, 2018 - 3:40 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353951">In reply to nbplopes:</a></em></blockquote><p>Only in the EU for now. Let's see how the average man/woman/transgender in the street reacts to this. </p><p><br></p><p>Imagine being stuck with MS Store on a mobile device…What could go wrong!</p>

    • skane2600

      17 October, 2018 - 1:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#353951">In reply to nbplopes:</a></em></blockquote><p>Windroid is a tool for rooting Android devices. </p>

  • curtisspendlove

    16 October, 2018 - 8:30 pm

    <p>Haha! Oops. </p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    17 October, 2018 - 4:40 am

    <p>According to other reports, it is just Chrome and Search that are being removed, everything else remains…</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p>

  • maethorechannen

    Premium Member
    17 October, 2018 - 5:37 am

    <p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;"> Google charging manufacturers an additional fee for bundling its apps is just another example of the company abusing its power.</em></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">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. </span></p><p><br></p><p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">In reality, though, the extra fee manufacturers have to pay for bundling Google apps will most likely be passed on to us, the consumers.</em></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">Yes. Why would anyone expect anything else?</span></p>

  • conan007

    17 October, 2018 - 6:55 am

    <p>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.</p>

    • FalseAgent

      17 October, 2018 - 7:58 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#354105">In reply to conan007:</a></em></blockquote><p>Android in China is nothing like Android as we know it. It just happens to be the same OS, but the services, APIs that apps use, etc, are almost unrecognizable from what the rest of the world uses. It functionally isn't the same thing at all.</p>

      • conan007

        17 October, 2018 - 8:23 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#354121">In reply to FalseAgent:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, but it works.</p>

  • Mike Brady

    17 October, 2018 - 9:36 am

    <p>Like Washington, Brussels ruins everything it touches.</p>

    • illuminated

      17 October, 2018 - 2:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#354144">In reply to Mike_Brady:</a></em></blockquote><p>Exactly. Brussels is ruining nice monopolies. </p>

  • illuminated

    17 October, 2018 - 2:40 pm

    <p>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. </p>

  • lordbaal1

    18 October, 2018 - 3:26 pm

    <p>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.</p><p>Just another revenue source for Google.</p>

  • sharpsone

    18 October, 2018 - 5:26 pm

    <p>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. </p>


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