Google has just announced that it will start charging a small fee on Android device makers who device to include Google apps on their devices that are meant for the European market. The company took to its official The Keyword blog to explain the decision in a dedicated blog post. According to the post, the company added that this change is because of a ruling by the European Commission back in July. To recap, Google was fined $5 billion for antitrust violations and the ruling added that Google needs to stop illegally tying its in-house apps including Google Chrome and Search on Android devices.
This means that companies will need to pay for Google apps including Google Play Store, Chrome, and Search. Google maintained that Android itself will remain free of any charge and open-source. For the uninitiated who may not have followed the differences between various Android versions, the core base of the operating system, Android which is also known as Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is free and open source. The form of Android that we usually see on most devices including the Google Pixel and Nexus lineup is the one where Google adds its services and apps.
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As part of the latest changes, the company is introducing a new paid licensing agreement that will bundle a number of Google apps including Google Play Store, and other Google apps including Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and others. The company will make another bundle where it will allow device makers to install Google Search and Chrome on devices.
Google also announced that it will offer new commercial agreements to its partners for pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome along with its competing apps. Last but not least, the company announced that it will allow companies to build smartphones and tablets that are forked from Android and non-compatible to run Google services. The only catch here is that these partners should be willing to distribute Google apps in their devices in Europe. The company added that these changes will come in effect from October 29.