Google Will Charge Phone Manufacturers to Pre-Install Apps in E.U

Android Pie statue

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Brussels accused Google of using the Android system's dominance of smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine and shut out rivals.

Chrome 70, the latest update to Google's popular browser, amends an annoyance that the developers initially planned as a feature, but many people didn't like.

Google has not admitted defeat in its ongoing battle with the European Commission, but it has announced some changes to its Android device policies meant to address the Commission's concerns.

Google said in a blog post that it had to start charging to make up for lost revenue as a result of the European Union enforcement measures. While Android remains free, and open source, manufacturers will be expected to cough up a fee to include the Google Play store, since they'll also be able to include it - and the Google mobile application suite - separately from the Search App and Chrome.

"That's been harder to do for Android licensees as a lot of the revenue from their devices has flowed to Google via things like Search and Maps".

Until now, many manufactures have focused instead on adding their own "skins", which involves making user interface changes to Google's stock version of Android but not deeper alterations to the code that might cause some services to become incompatible.

Earlier this year, the European watchdog fined the search giant $5 billion for the for the illegal monopolization of online services on the Android platform.

This will also hopefully appease Google competitors which complained the current business model stifled competition to such an extent other products couldn't even hope to compete. Android itself will remain free, as will Chrome as it is bundled with the Google Search app, but everything else will be chargeable.

Google will offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. "With the company now required to separate its services in Europe, handset manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei will now have more flexibility there to choose what applications they want to pre-install on phones". Another change will see more flexibility in devices with the Google apps preloaded.

Desktop progressive web apps can be "installed" on the user's device much like native apps.

The new licensing fees will enter into effect in two weeks, on October 29.

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