It seems like a troubled road ahead for Android phone manufacturers. Google has announced recently that it will also start charging Chinese OEMs for using Google’s Android Apps.
In a tweet from the official Android account spotted by SlashLeaks, the company clearly states that it has “plans to charge Chinese manufacturers in the third quarter of 2019.” There are a lot of Chinese companies currently manufacturing Android-powered phones. So, Google went further and named some of them which include but not limited to – Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi. The big question is how much would be the cost and how will it affect us, i.e. the end consumer.
Why is Google charging Chinese OEMs?
Last year Google faced a significant backlash over privacy concerns from the US Congress and in European Commision as well. Google was already kicked out of China way back in 2010 over censorship reasons. All its core apps were blocked by the great firewall of China. However, AOSP(Android Open Source Project) from Google remained an integral part of the Chinese OEMs as they continued developing their version of android (skins) and bundling apps which worked in their country replicating Google’s apps.
Fast forward a few years later, all the Chinese OEMs have now expanded. They have ventured overseas into countries like India, Dubai, Russia, EU etc. These companies won’t be able to bundle the Chinese apps they used to into the markets where Google services are openly available. Hence, they resorted to bundling Gapps outside of China.
This development comes after the massive European Commission’s fine on Google in 2018, which saw the search giant shelling out a record $5 billion. Google is found guilty to use its market dominance to install Google Search and Google Chrome in mobile phones forcefully. As Google was instructed to stop the practice, they, in turn, asked all the OEMs for licensing fee. This licensing fee is applicable for all the phones and tablets shipped into the Europe European Area. The Fee which in the ballpark figure of up to 40$ for a single device. However, the actual amount was somewhere to be 3$ as per the reports. The calculation is done based on the PPI(pixels per inch) of the device. The app suite as mentioned above includes – Play Store, YouTube, Drive, Maps and others.
Now it seems that Google is introducing the same agreement in China, which will see the companies mentioned above paying for apps separately. The base Android operating system will, however, remain free and open-source.