Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

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.

The European Commission ruled that forcing device manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome was against its competition rules and fined the tech giant a whopping $5.1 billion in July (Google has appealed against the ruling).

"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. According to documents that the publication obtained, European Union countries are divided into three tiers to determine how much they should pay (the tier with the highest fees consists of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands).

Google will ask for $40 per device in "licensing fees" from Android manufacturers that want their phones to include Google's app bundle, the Verge reports. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.

It's unclear why pixel density is so central to the pricing scheme, but it is likely being used as a proxy for the price of the overall device, as higher pixel density devices usually cost more. Use of popular Google app such as YouTube, Gmail and most especially the Play Store could attract charges for companies in Europe.

You can read Google's explanation here. It means companies will now be able to add the aforementioned apps without adding Chrome and search.

Android manufacturers will have to pay $40 per device to Google in Europe to be featured into Google Play Store and other mobile apps. 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. In theory, separating Search and Chrome from the rest of the Google app bundle will let manufacturers sign deals with other search and browser providers. 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.

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