Google is facing legal pressure from EU authorities for its apparent “illegal practices” that have been affecting competition in the tech market.
The company was handed a fine of $5 billion for forcefully pushing its proprietary services along with almost every Android device on the planet.
Due to this, Google will now charge OEMs (original equipment manufacturers, the smartphone makers) for including original Google Apps (or GApps) in their handsets. GApps, such as Gmail, Chrome, Search, and Play Store, are not exactly part of the Android operating system.
But they are included by most OEMs that make Android smartphones – Android is an open-source software so there’s no problem with the OS itself, which is why Google services get pushed to the end-consumer no matter what.
End-Consumer Prices to Go Up
Google generates revenue from these apps and has been hurting competition. For the time being, Google says that it will charge manufacturers for GApps including Play Store, Maps, Drive, and YouTube.
Google Search and Chrome will still be included for free, for now.
This is also big for consumers as this can increase Android smartphone prices. Just like iPhones, that include software expenses within their total price, Android smartphones will also include costs attributable to pre-loaded apps.
Another new bit is that Google is now going to receive royalty payments from 28 EU countries – including Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – for GApp distribution based on the pixel density of smartphones.
Rates will be $40 for 500ppi or above pixel density, $20 up to 400ppi, and $10 for under 400ppi. A fixed rate of $20 will be paid for tablets.
Sundar Pichai – Google’s CEO, defended EU’s accusations in his blog posts, titled “Android has created more choices, not less”.