Google has not admitted the defeat in its ongoing battle with the European Commission, but has announced some changes to its policies on Android devices intended to respond to the concerns of the Commission. In the EU, device manufacturers will have more freedom in the way they use and license Android from Google, but will also have to pay higher commissions. Consumers could also start to see some unusual Android devices that were not previously allowed.
At the start of this year, the EU announced a $ 5 billion record fine for Google for the way it licensed its software and services to Android devices. For years, Google's Android license was an all or nothing deal. OEMs needed to preload Google Search, Chrome and other apps if they wanted to have the Play Store. Google has also limited the use of incompatible Android forks by companies with Android licenses. Much of this will change in the EU going forward.
If a company wants to sell phones with the Play Store, it may choose not to pre-install Chrome and Google Search in Europe. This frees them to group apps from other providers, which could become an additional revenue stream. Consumers could still install the Google apps from the Play Store, but at least in the case of the search, the functionality may be limited as the app would not be a system component. If an OEM has decided to do so, Google will charge an additional cost per device because the grouping of Chrome and Search is a key part of the Android revenue model.
Google is also planning to offer new offers to OEMs to encourage them to install Chrome and Search. These commercial agreements would have paid the device manufacturers to add Chrome and Search, even if the competing services were also preloaded. Honestly, I do not know who would do it with a licensed Android device that did not include bundled Google Search, so OEMs will definitely bring Google to it.
The last change is potentially much more problematic for Google. It will no longer prevent its partners from selling incompatible "fork" devices on Android devices that do not work with Android apps and services. Because Android is open source, anyone can edit it for their own purposes. Google does not like its partners to do it because they can create confusion and fragmentation of the user platform. OEMs can ship these devices in the EU along with licensed Android hardware, but the forked software will not have Google services yet.
Google says the new licensing conditions will come into force on October 29, but only for the EU. Everyone else has the same restrictions. In addition, Google continues its appeal against the decision of the European Commission to revoke the sentence.
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