Google is splitting up Chrome, Search, and Android for the European Union

Google is splitting up Chrome, Search, and Android for the European Union

Google is splitting up Chrome, Search, and Android for the European Union

Today, Google announced a number of licensing changes its making as a result of the European Union antitrust decision that came down in July.

Presently, it's unclear if every Android smartphone sold within Europe will require a license fee, or if the move will only apply to European companies. Google Search and Chrome will now be licensed (for free) as a separate and optional package. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that companies will still be able to create their own versions.

Instead, Google will allow device manufacturers to pre-install the Google Play Store on a stand-alone basis, and offer the option to pre-install Google's other proprietary apps for an extra, unspecified fee. The one catch here is that Google is only opening this up to companies distributing to the EEA, meaning any devices would have a significantly limited market to sell in.

For Google, the change is a major shift for its mobile business.

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He then goes on to list a number of changes Google will make in order to comply with the ruling while waiting for the appeal to be heard. Lockheimer says the pre-installation of apps helped fund the free distribution of Android. But Google's also putting its foot down to show just how much value it gives away for free as of today, with a suite of extremely popular and well-made apps that would typically cost companies millions of dollars to develop for themselves.

In July, the European Commission fined Google for breaching EU antitrust rules by allegedly forcing EU manufacturers to pre-install Google search and their suite of bundled apps, paying manufacturers to make Google the exclusive search app, and by obstructing the development of competing mobile software. Regulators said 95 percent of Android users around the world were using their device's default search engine - Google Search - rather than choosing an alternative.

The changes will apply on October 29 for all new smartphones and tablets sold in the EEA.

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