It looks like it’s the end of the free Google apps era on Androids for smartphone makers in Europe,
after the EU Commission’s 4.3 billion dollar fine on Google for industry competition issues. The
company will now charge all makers in the continent up to $40 for using its apps.
It’s worth noting that the fine had been issued for illegal unethical tactics against its rivals, since
Google was found guilty of using its Android operating system in order to establish its dominance as
a search engine, with the approval for its Play Store to be given only when manufacturers agreed to
pre-install the Google Search and Chrome apps on their products, which was deemed an act again
After several meeting at the highest court in Europe, the Silicon Valley tech giant came to agreement
with the Commission, that they will charge all European smartphone manufacturers that use its
Android OS and want to pre-install Google’s apps, including the Play Store. According to a report that
was first published by The Verge, every company will be called to pay up to $40 for every device that
will come with the ‘Google Mobile Services’ suit pre-installed. Charges will apply starting February
1 st , 2019, with the cost being determined by the screen of every smartphone.
Specifically, prices will vary, depending on the ppi (pixels per inch). Hence, the $40 will correspond to
handset with 501ppi and above, while displays between 400ppi and 500ppi will be charged around
$20. Finally, screens that fall in the lowest ppi category, which is 399 and below, will be charged $10.
The only exceptions to the above pricing plan will be the low-end smartphones for which in some
countries, manufacturers will have to pay $2.50.
Although major manufacturers will not be affected directly since they are out of Europe, we still
have to see whether they will be asked to follow the new rule for every device they import in the EU.
If the charges apply for them as well, then differences between continents may grow massively, in
terms of prices and features for the end user. As for the companies that operate inside Europe, we
expect to see an outcry as this will jeopardize their competitive advantages against Chinese rivals in
the mid-end such as Oppo, HTC and Xiaomi.
In any case, all phone makers who choose not to pay to pre-install Google’s suit, will also not earn a
share of income that is generated by users who browse the web through Chrome, even if the end
users install the app after they buy the phone.
Europe’s smartphone industry is on the decline currently, but it still remains a major industry that
can affect other countries and markets around the globe. Stay tuned to find out all the latest news
on this and many other hot topics!