Android: Google introduces paid license agreements in Europe

Google’s position is clear: if the company can no longer rely on the revenue from services integrated into Android terminals to develop and monitor the system, then some of its “internal” applications must be paid. These are the changes the giant will make in response to the European Commission’s condemnation.

Although Google has appealed the European Commission’s conviction for abuse of a dominant position in Android (for which it received a record fine of €4.34 billion), the company is working to find solutions that meet the expectations of the Competition Commissioner.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, Vice President of Platforms and the Android Ecosystem believes that Android has created more choice for consumers, not less. That is why last week Google appealed the Commission’s decision. At the same time, the company has been working to comply with this decision. They have just informed the European Commission of the changes they will make during the appeal process.

What are these measures?

The company will update the terms of the contract between Android device manufacturers and Google, in particular, so that partners who so wish can continue to offer Google applications in their products running on Android forks in the European Economic Area. Mountain View also indicates that manufacturers will be able to license some “home-made” mobile applications independently of Google’s search engine or Chrome Internet browser.

In other words, an Android smartphone will no longer necessarily have all of Google’s default tools, applications, and services on board.

Tailor-made, but fee-based license agreements

However, if Android remains a free and open source operating system, it will not be the same for these application licenses. Therefore, Google will offer new paid license agreements for smartphones and tablets to manufacturers. Manufacturers will also receive separate license agreements for Google’s search engine, on the one hand, and for the Chrome browser, on the other. On top of this, Google will propose new commercial agreements for the non-exclusive pre-installation of its services, in the knowledge that competing applications can, as before, always be installed separately from its own.

These new options will be available from 29 October 2018 for any smartphone or tablet launched in Europe. Of course, Google is at the disposal of its partners to help them make the transition to this new model, which could be summarized.

Except that beyond the new possibilities offered to manufacturers – who will be better able to choose which Google services they want to provide by default for their products – it would be interesting to learn more about the trade policy adopted in practice by the American giant. You can always push for the default adoption of all your applications and services by offering a complete package without unbundling and also by selling licenses for your application suite, search engine or Internet browser at dissuasive prices.