Google is unbundling Android apps in compliance with European Union ruling

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Google's Android Apps Are No Longer Free for European Smartphone Makers

The licensing fees that Google will charge for its apps will vary depending on country and device, but will go as high as $40 per device, the Verge reports. In some countries, for lower-end phones, the fee can be as little as $2.50 per device.

Earlier this week, Google said it was updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers and may ask them to pay a fee for Google Play and other its other Android apps used in Europe.

The new fee goes into effect on October 29 for any new smartphone or tablet models launched in the European Economic Area and running Google's Android operating system, the company announced on Tuesday.

"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", Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president for platforms and ecosystem, wrote in the post.

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")".

European Union countries are divided into three tiers, with the highest fees coming in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Beyond offsetting the upfront fees, manufacturers that don't preinstall Chrome could also miss out on search revenue from the browser, a long-standing incentive to prioritize Google and its apps. Antitrust regulators in Europe fined Google $5 billion for its illegal practices. If phone or tablet companies want to include any of Google's apps, they'll have to pay, and then decide whether to make a separate browser-and-search deal with Google to make back some of the costs. 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". But Google's deal to cover licensing fees may be too sweet to pass up, given the widespread use of Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and all the other apps consumers want.

The downside is that Google will now charge phone makers licenses for a package of its apps, including the Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps. Ads connected with those apps and usage data is collected from users to better target ads across Google platforms.

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