European Union force Google to unbundle, license Android application suite to competitors

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Google's Android Apps Are No Longer Free for European Smartphone Makers

The U.S. tech company's announcement Tuesday is a change from its previous business model, in which it let phone makers install its suite of popular mobile apps for free on phones running its Android operating system.

The European Commission found Google guilty of preventing Android manufacturers from selling devices with unapproved Android forks (like Meizu's Flyme OS and Amazon's Fire OS), paying manufacturers to pre-install Search exclusively, and requiring them to include Google Search and Chrome on their devices.

Google has announced changes in how European smartphone and tablet makers can use Google's Android apps in response to the EU's $5 billion fine.

Google has appealed the decision, arguing that the EU's accusations were unfounded, but on Wednesday said it would comply with the decision in order to avoid further fines.

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The company plans to charge a fee to all Android phone makers that want to include free versions of its Google apps with the default versions of the Android OS they are shipping in European Union states.

"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. Android will remain free and open source. 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. If Google is charging OEMs to use its services, Google can't be accused of monopolizing Android.

Next are the changes to the way Google apps are licensed. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours. The EC's stipulation that companies were being hindered by their inability to ship devices with forked versions of Android is of dubious merit, and now there's a very real possibility that Google-sanctioned devices - a vast majority of Androids sold in the EEA - will cost more when they hit store shelves.

The changes will apply on October 29 for all new smartphones and tablets sold in the EEA.

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