Pay for Google apps in Europe?
Google is changing the license agreement for using Google Apps on Android devices across Europe this month. Device manufacturers have to pay for these in the future, but for the first time they are also allowed to sell smartphones and tablets with Android forks.
The Android market, at least in Europe, could change in the coming months: Google reacts to the billion-dollar fine of the EU Commission, wants to meet the associated requirements at the end of the month and changes the license terms for the use of Google Apps. For smartphones and tablets sold in Europe, device manufacturers will have to pay Google in the future if they want to ship their devices preinstalled with Google Apps. These include the Play Store, Google Maps, Youtube and Google Maps.
The Google Apps package in Europe will no longer necessarily include the Chrome browser and Google Search. Both apps can be separately licensed by vendors, and they can sell smartphones and tablets with the Play Store but without the Chrome browser. The EU Commission has accused Google of granting access to the Play Store to manufacturers of Android devices only if they also installed Chrome and Google Search. Google wants to secure its market position in the mobile Internet search and on the browser market, was the allegation of the European Commission.
Google is also changing the compatibility agreement with mobile device manufacturers. In the future, Google will allow Android partners to sell devices with preinstalled Google apps on the one hand and Android-Forks devices on the other. So far, Google denied that the compatibility agreements prohibit device manufacturers to be allowed to also offer devices with Android forks in parallel with smartphones or tablets with Google Apps.
AOSP remains free and open source
Google did not say what the royalty for Google Apps in Europe would be. The basic Android, officially called the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), will remain free and will continue to be offered as open source. This is offered completely without Google apps, so there is no play store and no way to access Google’s leading marketplace for Android apps.
The new license agreement applies to devices sold within the EU. It is still unclear whether leading Android device manufacturers simply pay the now incurred license costs and hardly changes anything. It would be conceivable that manufacturers use the new option and also sell Android devices without Google Apps. That would free them from the current strong attachment to Google.