Google has a new page in its playbook that will effectively make OEM device makers and consumers pay for its EU fine and lost revenue from new regulatory mandates.
Google has agreed to unbundle Chrome and the search app in the European Economic Area. But there’s a catch. Device makers who want Google Play and Google’s other apps will be under a new licensing fee that could cost them up to $40 more per device.
That’s a steep markup that device makers won’t want to absorb completely, so some of that price increase may show up in market prices.
In effect, the consumers who have been allegedly affected by Google’s high-handed and monopolistic tactics in app bundling will now have to pay to get those apps. Ironic, if nothing else.
And that’s not all. Google plans to have separate agreements to waive or cover some of this licensing cost…ONLY if the device maker agrees to have Chrome and Search pre-installed on their devices.
Back to square one, apparently.
If you’re confused, this is the summary of what’s happening…
Google was accused of forcing device makers to install their apps in new phones. The EU slapped a fine and asked Google to change its ways. Google changed its ways, but seems to have found a way to put Search and Chrome on all Android devices, after all. but the decision now rests with the device maker about whether to shoulder the additional $40 cost, pass it on to its customers or bend to Google’s will and put Chrome and Search on their devices by default.
In short, nothing has changed. The new agreement might not sit well with the EU, since it basically shifts the onus from Google to OEMs rather than make Google truly change the way it offers its apps to OEM device manufacturers.