Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Delia Walker
October 18, 2018

Google has appealed the decision, arguing that the EU's accusations were unfounded, but on Wednesday said it would comply with the decision in order to avoid further fines.

Google announced the changes to its policies in a blog. What we think of as a commercial "Android" device comes in two parts.

Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.

Google says it is appealing the ruling, but in an announcement today revealed the steps it will be taking to comply with the Commission's demands.

Here's more from The New York Times about the backstory and what this all means: "By obligating handset makers to load the free apps along with the Android operating system, regulators said, Google had boxed out competitors".

Realistically, this probably won't change much for most Android devices. This causes user data to be uploaded to Google's cloud storage so users can sync bookmarks, saved passwords, browsing history, and other personal data across devices. This made a smooth transition out of the Google ecosystem impossible-it was more like jumping off a cliff, and you had to hope you landed safely at the bottom. For years, Google's Android license has been an all-or-nothing deal. Forked Android is also allowed in China, because Google doesn't offer Google apps for that country. Honestly, I don't know who would by a licensed Android device that didn't have Google Search bundled, so OEMs will surely take Google up on this. Google was also told to stop "illegally tying" Chrome and its search apps to Android in a move similar to when Microsoft was forced to stop bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

The changes bring to fruition a warning from Google CEO Sundar Pichai in July that the company may have to start charging for its apps following the EC decision, which he said "upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android". Breaking up Google's licensing agreement is going to have a financial impact on OEMs.

European Union antitrust enforcers in their July decision said Google's anti-competitive behaviour, which dated to 2011, included forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser together with its Google Play app store on their Android devices.

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