Google announces that it will begin charging Android manufacturers for its apps

The European Commission slapped Google with a 4.34 billion euro - $5bn - fine three months ago, after complaints that it had stymied the smartphone space by forcing phone-makers to install Chrome and Google Search if they wanted Play store access.

We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome.

Mobile industry executives have generally thought that Europeans have little interest in devices without Google apps.

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

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets.

Back in July, the European Commission ordered Google to stop illegally tying the Play Store, Chrome, and other apps to the Android operating system.

In an effort to placate Europe's regulators furious at its anticompetitive tactics, Google has overhauled its Android licensing practices for the continent. The changes, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms & Ecosystems at Google says, will be implemented while the appeal is pending.

"That's been harder to do for Android licensees as a lot of the revenue from their devices has flowed to Google via things like Search and Maps". In addition, Google was fined a huge $5 billion for antitrust violations.

Google is ending a controversial practice in Europe where it requires smartphone makers seeking to pre-install Google's app store to also add other Google apps, such as search and Chrome. The new rules will come into play from October 29, though the fees will only apply to new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. But the full-featured version of the Android OS has required device makers to pre-install a package of Google's apps like Search and Chrome.

This could have the rather nasty knock-on effect of hardware makers passing on the cost of forking out for a license on to consumers in the way of hiked up more-expensive smartphones phones.

Now, in response to the European Union ruling, Google is saying it will shift for the first time away from giving away its Android OS for free to get it onto as many devices as possible.

This will also hopefully appease Google competitors which complained the current business model stifled competition to such an extent other products couldn't even hope to compete.

"Android will remain free and open-source".

  • Fernando Stephens