Google latest decision on the usage policy of Google apps can make big changes for device manufacturers in Europe. It was in July that Google got penalized by European Commission, claiming that Google was trying to tie some of its app to Android, thus defeating the purpose of transparent competition. Now, Google has decided that European device manufacturers will have to pay a specific fee to bring Google Play, Chrome as well as other Google apps to their Android devices. Previously, these apps were included as an integral part of Android. This doesn’t, however, mean that something is happening to the Android operating system.
The Android operating system — more technically the Android Open Source Project — would stay definitely free and open-source. Device manufacturers will be able to use this software and make changes to fit their unique needs. However, from now on, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube or other Google apps would not be included by default in the package. Manufacturers, on the other hand, have to pay this yet-unspecified fees to make that possible. It also gives Google a provision to separate the systems for distributing Chrome and Google Search, which were being offered as a bundle.
“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,” said a Google spokesperson while talking about the decision. These changes are expected to separate Google and Android from the technical perspective, but it’s not clear whether users are interested in such a change. It’s very hard to imagine Android devices that do not have Play Store access, given that not many alternatives are available. Now, though, the decisions are up to the manufacturers to make and there haven’t been many comments on the topic.