Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Google introduces licensing costs for Android manufacturers

Google to charge for apps on Android phones in Europe Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines
Pete Mitchell | 18 October, 2018, 03:27

It said Google has used Android as a vehicle to increase its domination in the search domain. The Play Store app grants access to the official Google Play Store where most of the millions of Android apps are hosted.

The company said the licensing fees will offset revenue lost as a result of its compliance efforts. Android device makers will now be able to license Google's suite of mobile apps (Gmail, Maps, Photos, etc.) separately from Google Search and Google Chrome, which were both previously required.

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

Google published a blog post today explaining some important upcoming changes to the business model of Android when it comes to the European Economic Area (EEA).

Google's competitors in the search and browser market will hope to benefit from the changes - if they are permanent - while mobile operators will welcome any move to curb the power of online platforms.

First and foremost, Android will remain open source and device makers will be allowed to tweak the software to their own specifications. Forked Android is also allowed in China, because Google doesn't offer Google apps for that country.

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Google has been banging the drum for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for some time, initially seeing the tech as a way of improving the user experience of web apps before suggesting it could present a real alternative to native desktop applications.

Another illegal tactic included paying manufacturers to pre-install only Google Search and preventing them from using rival Android systems. 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.

Google says this new policy will take effect October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.

This only applies in Europe, though, as it's a result of the European Union ruling that Google used anti-competitive business practices.

While it's always great to see that big businesses can be held accountable for their operations, in practice there is a chance that Android phones will see an increase in price, with manufacturers offloading the addition cost of licensing onto the consumers.

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