Google has started unbundling Android app in compliance to last July’s ruling issued by the European Commission. The antitrust body had last July fined Google $5 billion, and also issued it with a 90-day ultimatum to unbundle both search and chrome from its Android OS.
Google did appeal that ruling a couple of weeks ago, but while that appeal is still being heard, has decided to abide by the ruling. According to multiple sources, The Verge inclusive, the software giant has now started making changes to how it “licenses its suite of Android apps and services in Europe.”
By this development, Google will begin charging a fee for its base suite of apps, which include YouTube, Gmail and most especially the Play Store among several other apps it owns. It means companies will now be able to add the aforementioned apps without adding Chrome and search. This could well open up the biggest opportunity yet for other browsers and search engines to have access to the Android operating system.
Android of course, is being offered as a free OS for companies, but that could change pretty soon considering the latest development. Use of popular Google app such as YouTube, Gmail and most especially the Play Store could attract charges for companies in Europe.
The fees have not been announced yet, but it is becoming obvious considering the current situation. Device makers may be required to pay some fees in order to be able to use Google services, which may not include the Chrome browser.
“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 [European Economic Area],” Hiroshi Lockheimer head of Android said per The Verge.
Last July Google was slammed with a hefty fine following investigations into what the EU described as breach of antitrust laws. The Commission held that the search engine behemoth was abusing its market dominance over its Android OS by bundling together some of its major products including Chrome.
Google was also charged with blocking phone manufacturers from creating devices that run versions of its mobile OS Android. 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 third charge preferred against Google, according to the regulatory authority is: preventing “manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).
Google did say it would appeal the fine, and has followed up with that by filing an appeal. 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.