Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

Google offers solutions to avoid more EU Android fines

As The Verge notes, it's just Google's apps and services, which have nearly become synonymous with the mobile OS, that will become fee-based in Europe.

Google will have to allow smartphone manufacturers to ship Android devices in the EU without Google Chrome preinstalled, as a result of the massive Euro 4.34 billion fine imposed on the company by European Commission antitrust regulators in July this year.

Google is revamping its requirements for pre-installed Google services on Android to comply with new regulations.

Forked versions of Android haven't really performed well apart from China, where most Google services are banned.

The EU's main problem with Google isn't about Android specifically, but with the company's dominance of search traffic. Android device makers could turn to other search engines, including lesser-known ones such as Qwant and DuckDuckGo, which tout their strict privacy practices. This means the pre-installation and priority status of Android applications like Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, the Google Play Store, etc., will no longer be required. Failure to end the illegal business practices can result in additional fines. "As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours", added Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems at Google.

The U.S. tech company's announcement Tuesday is a change from its previous business model of letting manufacturers install Google's suite of popular mobile apps for free on phones running its Android operating system. Android contributes to this, though, as phone makers who want access to Gmail, YouTube, and other related software have to include the Google Search App and the Chrome browser on their devices.

Google has not announced what the fee structure will be, but it will only apply for devices that are intended for sale in the 31 member countries of the European Economic Area.

Google says this new policy will take effect October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.

"We have confirmed to the European Commission how we will comply with its recent decision on Android", said Al Verney, a spokesperson for Google in Brussels. The commission typically lets companies tweak compliance efforts as feedback comes in from customers and rivals. It's possible device makers will pass this cost along to phone buyers. As well as the penalty, the commission gave Google 90 days to make amends, and those three months are now virtually up, hence these latest concessions.

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