Back in July, the European Commission fined Google $5 billion over alleged antitrust practices with the Android operating system. The company this week detailed how it’s complying with the ruling while Google appeals the decision to a higher court.
In a blog post penned by Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google lays out new licensing options that will be applied to the European Economic Area (EEA). The first is regarding the compatibility agreements that manufacturers sign with Google in order to curb fragmentation.
Previously, companies that preloaded Google apps on Android devices were not allowed to also build smartphones and tablets running forked versions of the operating system. This move is aimed at stopping user confusion over product compatibility and providing a consistent customer experience.
Google is acquiescing to European regulators that found this deal anti-competitive and is now essentially allowing companies to offer those two classes of products that might function in an entirely different manner despite other similarities.
Meanwhile, companies will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google app and Google Chrome. The EU in July considered this all-or-nothing bundling detrimental to third-party services, though Google has long allowed apps from other companies to be pre-loaded.
In response, Google is introducing a new paid licensing agreement for Europe to fund the development of the OS, but reiterates that “Android will remain free and open source.” This means that OEMs will have to pay an unspecified fee to Google to install applications like Google Play, Drive, or YouTube on European Android devices.
Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA.
The company is also offering “new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome.”
These new licenses go live in two weeks on October 29th for all new smartphones and tablets launching in Europe. Google is working closely with partners to transition to the new agreements.
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