Google to start charging for Google Play

Posted October 18, 2018

Google will charge smartphone makers a licensing fee for using its popular Google Play app store and also allow them to use rival versions of its Android mobile operating system to comply with an European Union antitrust order. It said Google has used Android as a vehicle to increase its domination in the search domain. Previously, Google wouldn't license out its apps to companies who made phones that wouldn't ship Google apps, but it has now relaxed this requirement.

In addition, device manufacturers will now pay an unspecified license fee to have access to Google applications - such as Gmail or YouTube - that will come separately to the dominant Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Both have said they were prevented from signing distribution deals with smartphone vendors in recent years because of Google's restrictions.

Last week, Google appealed the EU's biggest ever anti-trust fine, saying that Android had "created more choice, not less".

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The company's announcement Tuesday came ahead of an October 29 deadline to comply with a European Union antitrust decision, which saw regulators slap the company with a $5 billion fine for bundling its apps in an allegedly anticompetitive manner.

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.

The most important change Google announced today will be new fees OEMs will have to pay to pre-install Google services on Android devices.

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Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome.

Phone vendors will have to comply with Google's old rules if they want to ship Android smartphones and tablets in other parts of the world. In other words, Google is likely going to incentivize OEMs purchasing the full suite of Google products, probably by offering discounts. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours. Although it comes with Progressive Web Apps on Windows, an AV1 decoder, and much more, the most important change is the ability to disable the new sign-in method that arrived with Chrome 69 and cause severe backslash due to the privacy concerns it generated.

Google has in the past required phone manufacturers to include all the company's apps on Android devices, in order for them to include Play Store.

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