Smartphone manufacturers looking to release Android handsets in Europe will now need to pay Google a licensing fee if they want to use Google Play.
That follows a ruling earlier this year by the European Commission that found Google in breach of antitrust rules for using Android as a “vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine”.
Google is now set to action its response to the decision, though that doesn’t mean it agrees with the EC. The tech giant has appealed the ruling, claiming Android has brought users “more choice, not less".
Rules have changed
“We're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets,” said senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems Hiroshi Lockheimer, in a blog post.
“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).
“Device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or 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 EEA. Android will remain free and open source.”
Google will also offer separate licenses for both the Google Search and Chrome apps. These new changes come into force today and affect all new smartphones and tablets in the European Economic Area.