Big changes are afoot with regards to the way Google handles the bundling of its Android apps in Europe, with the Android maker set to start charging a license fee for the Play Store and other apps for the first time.
Android manufacturers will be able to ship smartphones and tablets running forked versions of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) operating system that do not include Google's apps and services. "Going forward", Lockheimer explains, "Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA)".
Desktop progressive web apps can be "installed" on the user's device much like native apps.
The EU conducted a three-year investigation into Google which found the Mountain View-based company was using its Android operating system to marginalise rivals.
Until now, Google insisted that if handset- and tablet-makers pre-installed apps such as YouTube and Google Maps, they also had to pre-load its web browser Chrome and Search apps. The EU Competition Commissioner gave Google 90 days to act upon the ruling. "Device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser", wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google SVP for Platforms & Ecosystems, in a statement.
Google is ending a controversial practice in Europe where it requires smartphone makers seeking to pre-install Google's app store to also add other Google apps, such as search and Chrome. Alphabet, Google's parent company, makes nearly 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from search and advertising.
The coming weeks will reveal whether Google's appeal is accepted or the original decision is enacted, but Google plans on placing the above licensing changes into effect on October 29 regardless.
The company said the licensing fees will offset revenue lost as a result of its compliance efforts. This was done so Google can comply with the EU Commission's anti-trust ruling. "We will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome".
The Commission seems pretty pleased with Google's decision though it noted that it will watch the search giant like a hawk to ensure it complies with the EC's antitrust rules.