European Union force Google to unbundle, license Android application suite to competitors

Google to charge smartphone makers for Google Play in Europe

Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system.

Today Google has outlined how it will respond to the European ruling, in addition to appealing against it.

Most importantly, however, OEMs will be able to license Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser, meaning companies will be able to ship Android handsets with, for example, Bing and Edge for Android while still having access to the Google Play Store.

As a first step, Android OEMs will now be able to sell forked Android handsets in the European Union while still being able to sell vanilla Google Android handsets.

The most significant change from the manufacturer side is that Google will now allow companies that make Android devices with Google apps to also make other Android devices with their own "forked" versions of the operating system and no Google apps. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).

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Next are the changes to the way Google apps are licensed. The EC, sure, but this may also mean more expensive Androids in Europe.

The European Commission found Google guilty of preventing Android manufacturers from selling devices with unapproved Android forks (like Meizu's Flyme OS and Amazon's Fire OS), paying manufacturers to pre-install Search exclusively, and requiring them to include Google Search and Chrome on their devices.

Google has appealed the decision, arguing that the EU's accusations were unfounded, but on Wednesday said it would comply with the decision in order to avoid further fines. In the incredibly competitive and price-sensitive consumer electronics world, that's a tough cost to manage.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. But for now, these new rules will go into effect on Monday, October 29.



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