Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

A 3D-printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken

Instead, Google will allow device manufacturers to pre-install the Google Play Store on a stand-alone basis, and offer the option to pre-install Google's other proprietary apps for an extra, unspecified fee.

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. The EC took particular umbrage with Google's requirements to include several Google apps as a bundle, and that licensees making Google-sanctioned Android devices were forbidden from making non-Google-licensed (aka "forked") Android devices.

When it comes to the Android operating system itself, Google has confirmed that it will remain open and free to everyone.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's head of Android, said the company would begin to offer the licenses October 26, but he didn't say what the pricing would be.

"We'll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements", wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of platforms, in a blog post.

The result, critics said, has given Google enormous staying power and a massive core audience whose personal data Google uses to maintain its dominant position in online advertising.

This requirement is now not only gone, but OEMs will have to pay Google a premium to use the services, which will (hopefully) appease European regulators who accused Google of antitrust violations.

Google Search has been a key component of Android since the OS was first released, and Chrome has become increasingly important in recent years.

Next are the changes to the way Google apps are licensed. If a company in the EEA wants to make Android devices with Google apps, sans Search and Chrome, it will now have to pay for the privilege. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours. The idea was that by offering Android for free, the company could spread the use of its services, like search and web browsing.



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