Technology

Google to stop bundling apps on smartphones in European Union nations

Google to stop bundling apps on smartphones in European Union nations

Google has started unbundling Android app in compliance to last July's ruling issued by the European Commission.

Google did appeal that ruling a couple of weeks ago, but while that appeal is still being heard, has chose to abide by the ruling.

Since the latter two companies in particular have established themselves in Europe as low-priced device manufacturers, they are more reliant on Google's apps being bundled into the Android OS free of charge and could be damaged by the licensing fees.

Chrome and search are where Google's profits come from, and without them in the bundle, it's chosen to fund the distribution of the rest of its apps and services with this per-device fee. One of Google's strongest selling points to manufacturers was the lack of an associated fee for Android - a major advantage over Microsoft, which offered its alternative OS for a cost. But to get access to Google's popular Play store, the company required manufacturers to install Google's bundle, which included the Chrome browser and Google Search.

The fees have not been announced yet, but it is becoming obvious considering the current situation. This isn't a cost that you yourself would have to cough up - it's a "licensing fee" that Google will charge European-based phone makers if they want their devices to run Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google Play, Google's app store.

Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by placing Google's search and Chrome internet browser in a prominent position.

Last July Google was slammed with a hefty fine following investigations into what the European Union described as breach of antitrust laws.

But phone manufacturers may not actually have to shoulder that cost: Google is also offering separate agreements to cover some or all of the licensing costs for companies that choose to install Chrome and Google search on their devices as well, according to a person familiar with the terms. The EC deemed Google to be exploiting the dominance of its Android platform to proliferate its own apps, and ordered it to change this practice by 28 October or receive further fines. The company was also accused of making "payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices". The EU had given Google a 90-day grace period to bring an end to its anti-competitive behaviors, but the company never appealed that decision until on Tuesday-a couple of days to the expiration of the grace period.