Google unshackles Android-device firms



Share this storyShare on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

Google is dropping restrictions it imposed on Android-device-makers, following a clash with the EU.

It is ending a ban on manufacturers having a line-up that includes tablets and phones powered by alternative versions of the operating system to its own as well as ones that feature Google's own apps and Play Store.

It will also allow some of its services to be pre-installed without others.

But Google continues to appeal against a related €4.3bn (£3.8bn) fine.

The European Commission announced the penalty in July, after ruling that the US company had been using Android to illegally "cement its dominant position" in search.

Google is dropping restrictions it imposed on Android-device-makers, following a clash with the EU.

It is ending a ban on manufacturers having a line-up that includes tablets and phones powered by alternative versions of the operating system to its own as well as ones that feature Google's own apps and Play Store.

It will also allow some of its services to be pre-installed without others.

But Google continues to appeal against a related €4.3bn (£3.8bn) fine.

The European Commission announced the penalty in July, after ruling that the US company had been using Android to illegally "cement its dominant position" in search.

Google announced the changes to its policies in a blog.

It said the new licensing arrangements would come into effect on 29 October and apply to devices shipped to the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein in addition to the EU.

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.

Chrome and Search will no longer be bundled in this way.

But one consequence of the move, Google said, was that manufacturers would face a new fee.

"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," wrote executive Hiroshi Lockheimer.

"Android will remain free and open-source."

It has not stated how much the new fees will be or whether consumers should expect a significant rise to device prices as a consequence.

BBC