Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe

Google says it will start charging smartphone makers to pre-install apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps on Android handsets sold in Europe, in response to a record $5 billion European Union antitrust fine.

Chrome 70, the latest update to Google's popular browser, amends an annoyance that the developers initially planned as a feature, but many people didn't like.

In a blogpost detailing the solution, Google said it would change existing practice and allow smartphone and tablet makers - such as Samsung or Huawei - to create non-Android compliant phones in parallel to compliant ones.

Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.

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Companies can now make licensed Android builds while also shipping forked builds in Europe.
If you produced any Android device without Google's apps, you got booted from the Google ecosystem. The company was also fined about $5 billion.

Until now, Google has only allowed phone vendors to ship the Play Store app with their phones only if they abide by strict rules.

Google's hardware partners also will be free to market devices in Europe that run rival versions of Android, including Amazon.com Inc's Fire OS. Google will continue to offer Search and Chrome to anyone, and is going to keep signing commercial agreements for preferential placement of the apps on phones - those are just separate deals from the rest of the apps now.

In a post on the official Google Blog titled "Complying with the EC's Android decision", Google outlined a few changes coming to the Google app licensing agreements that it offers to Android OEMs. Consumers could still install Google's apps from the Play Store, but at least in the case of search, functionality may be limited as the app would not be a system component. Device-makers are yet to comment on the changes, though the fear will undoubtedly be that licensing fees - the costs of which have not been disclosed at this stage - will be passed through to buyers themselves. Android contributes to this, though, as phone makers who want access to Gmail, YouTube, and other related software have to include the Google Search App and the Chrome browser on their devices. Google Play Store brings million of apps and customization to Android.

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