Google To Begin Charging Android Makers In EU A Fee For Its Apps

Big changes are afoot with regards to the way Google handles the bundling of its Android apps in Europe, with the Android maker set to start charging a license fee for the Play Store and other apps for the first time.

The move comes as a direct result of the European Commission’s July ruling, which fined Google a massive $5 billion for what were deemed to be antitrust violations. Google was also told to stop “illegally tying” Chrome and its search apps to Android in a move similar to when Microsoft was forced to stop bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

Google has never charged for its apps because, as we all know, its business model relies on ads and searches, two things that get better traction if people are using its apps. That led to the decision to offer them all for free, including the Play Store itself, but following the EC’s ruling Google has now had to offer the apps and services as paid-for options instead.

So what exactly does this mean moving forward? Android itself will remain free, as will Chrome as it is bundled with the Google Search app, but everything else will be chargeable. That means that apps like Google Calendar, YouTube, and even Gmail will require a license fee from Android device makers in Europe. The biggie here is the Google Play Store, something we expect many device makers will want to keep on their devices.

What this will ultimately mean is that we will likely see device makers picking and choosing the apps that will be bundled with their devices, with users forced to download the remaining apps separately. For this reason alone, we’d expect the Play Store to remain, with the appropriate license fee handed over.

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