Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

The European Commission in July hit Google with its biggest ever fine, imposing a 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) penalty, giving the USA tech giant 90 days to change its practices. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.

Today Google has outlined how it will respond to the European ruling, in addition to appealing against it. Fortunately, these companies won't need to license all of them.

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

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Another illegal tactic included paying manufacturers to pre-install only Google Search and preventing them from using rival Android systems. This means that companies will still be able to create their own versions.

Next are the changes to the way Google apps are licensed. Also, the "base package" of the Play Store and Google's other apps (Gmail, Duo, etc) will now require a licensing fee. The European Commision claims Google's practice of pre-installing apps like Search and Chrome on Android make it hard for the competition. Another bundle will include Google Search and Chrome. 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.

In a blogpost detailing the solution, Google said it would change existing practice and allow smartphone and tablet makers - such as Samsung or Huawei - to create non-Android compliant phones in parallel to compliant ones. But for now, these new rules will go into effect on Monday, October 29.

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