Google to begin charging Android device makers in Europe for its apps

By | 16th October 2018
Google Pixel 2 XL

In response to a recent European Commission decision to fine Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules with Android, Google today announced some changes to how it'll handle Android with device makers.

Google says that it will now allow Android device makers to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search app and Chrome browser. The new paid licensing agreement will be available for tablets and smartphones shipped into the European Economic Area (EEA).

Google will also offer separate licenses for the Google Search app and Chrome browser. The company will also offer new commercial agreements to its partners for the non-exclusive preinstallation and placement of the Google Search and Chrome apps.

Finally, any device makers will be able to build non-compatible, forked smartphones and tablets for the EEA and license Google apps for those devices.

These changes will go into effect on October 29th, 2018 for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.

In its ruling earlier this year, the European Commission said that Google had "imposed illegal restrictions on Android device makers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search." The European Commission said that Google had required device makers to preinstall the Google Search and Chrome apps in order to also license the Play Store while also preventing manufacturers from preinstalling Google apps on devices with forked versions of Android.

While Google has said that it has filed the European Commission's ruling, today's announcement from Google is a move to comply with that ruling. Now device makers will need to pay a licensing fee to install apps like the Play Store and YouTube, though they'll be able to license Google Search and Chrome separately. Google says that Android itself "will remain free and open source".