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Google will now charge for its Android app suite in Europe

17 October 2018

Last time we reported on the situation, Google had been fined $5 billion for antitrust violations.

Google formally offered its solutions to avoid more European Union mega-fines Wednesday, after Brussels accused the United States tech giant of illegally abusing the dominance of its Android operating system for mobile devices.

The company will also let phone makers install rival versions of Android, the most widely used mobile operating system.

Manufacturers taking on Google Play and other Google services such as Gmail, YouTube and maps, can also install the Google Search app and the Chrome browser free of charge.

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

Writing in a blog post, Google's senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer, reiterates that the company will be appealing against the EC's ruling, stressing its belief that "Android has created more choice, not less". OEMs had to pick between making Google-powered devices or not - no double-dipping.

Since the revenue from including Search and Chrome helped fund development for Android, the exclusion of those two apps means that Google will now be charging a licensing fee for the Google app suite (which includes the Play Store and other Google services that define most Android devices).

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

A 3D-printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017. 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 response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai argued that users could easily install alternatives to Google's apps if they wanted.

The firm says that the new options will go into effect on October 29, but only for new smartphones and tablets launched in the European Economic Area.

Google will now charge for its Android app suite in Europe