Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Google to charge $40 per device to Android makers

Google to charge $40 per device to Android makers

"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", Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president for platforms and ecosystem, wrote in the post.

But Google has said that it will have to impose a new licensing fee on manufacturers as a outcome of the ending of its restrictions. According to documents that the publication obtained, European Union countries are divided into three tiers to determine how much they should pay (the tier with the highest fees consists of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands).

The EU ruled in July Google must pay the fine because it required phone makers to pre-load their Android-based devices with a bundle of 11 apps if they wanted a license to use them - a provision it deemed anti-competitive. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.

The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. (Samsung's Galaxy S9 has a pixel density of 570 ppi, for example.) Tablets would also face an entirely different pricing tier, applied evenly across countries and capping out at $20 per device.

The European Commission ruling does not explicitly require Google to charge licensing fees, but Google is required to break apart its traditional bundle of apps. "Given the choice, Android handset makers will continue installing both Google Search and Google Chrome on their Android devices as the alternative would seem to be economic suicide". It levied a record $5-billion fine, which Google has appealed, and threatened additional penalties unless the company ended its illegal practices.

However, the Verge reports that phone manufacturers may be able to escape some - or all - of these costs if they choose to make Google's Chrome web browser and Search engine their device defaults.

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. If companies want Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other major apps on their devices, paying Google is the easiest way in.

The company has not yet announced how much the new licensing fee will be, or what the likely impact on retail prices will be.

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