Google announces that it will begin charging Android manufacturers for its apps

Doris Richards
October 16, 2018

Google recently was hit with a $5 billion fine from the European Union, and to avoid more fines while the company challenges the European Union in court, it is now complying with new regulatory rules.

The news comes after a record antitrust fine from the European Commission earlier this summer, which claimed Google's business practices around the Android mobile operating system hurt competition in the industry.

Though Google has just filed an appeal in hopes of overturning the decision, it has also just outlined its plans for addressing the EC's concerns regardless.

A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017.

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


As Google notes, since Google Search and Chrome pays for Google's development of Android, those who wish to licence their Apps without Search and Chrome will pay a license fee. The company has always stood by the argument that manufacturers are not required to include Google apps.

In addition, device manufacturers will now pay an unspecified license fee to have access to Google applications - such as Gmail or Youtube - that will come separately to the super dominant Google Search App or the Chrome browser. This means that companies will still be able to create their own versions.

For Google, the change is a major shift for its mobile business.

The European Commission found Google guilty of preventing Android manufacturers from selling devices with unapproved Android forks (like Meizu's Flyme OS and Amazon's Fire OS), paying manufacturers to pre-install Search exclusively, and requiring them to include Google Search and Chrome on their devices. In fact, these companies will now also be allowed to license Google's apps too, something that was previously not possible. The side-effect of free apps is it's hard for alternatives to compete.

Realistically, this probably won't change much for most Android devices.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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