Google To Charge Licensing Fee For Apps in Europe
In response to the European Commission’s decision to fine Google US $5 billion – the largest in EU history – for “anti-trust violations” and “illegally tying” Chrome and search apps to Android, Google will be charging a licensing fee for the Play Store and other Google apps for the first time which would potentially lead to higher prices for consumers.
Google hasn’t charged for Android and its apps in the past because of the revenue brought in through Chrome and search. It is not yet clear how much the licensing fees will cost.
The base Android OS will remain free and open-source, but if manufacturers want Google’s apps like Gmail and the Play Store, they’ll have to pay a new licensing fee in Europe.
Chrome and search will also be licensed separately, not as a bundle, allowing manufacturers to use Google’s competitor’s apps like Amazon’s Fire OS.
Meaning of course that manufacturers could pay for certain Google apps and the Play store but opt for a different operating system.
Devices can still be shipped without incorporating any of Google’s apps and services, as Amazon does and already occurs in China, where Google doesn’t operate.
However, as many users access the vast majority of Android apps via the Play Store, it is likely that phone and tablet makers will cough up the fee for it.
Google has stated in a company blog that they are appealing the European Commission’s ruling, but for the time being, they have to comply and put these changes into place starting October 29th.