“After receiving a record-breaking €4.34 billion fine in the EU for violating anti-trust laws, Google has announced today changes to Android’s licensing model for the EU zone,” Catalin Cimpanu reports for ZDNet.

“The company plans to charge a fee to all Android phone makers that want to include free versions of its Google apps with the default versions of the Android OS they are shipping in EU states,” Cimpanu reports. “This means phone vendors will have to pay Google a fee for installing Chrome, Search, Gmail, Drive, Maps, Translate, YouTube, and above all, its Play Store app.”

“Until now, Google has only allowed phone vendors to ship the Play Store app with their phones only if they abide by strict rules. First, device makers had to include bundle of other official Google apps (Search, Chrome, Translate, Maps, etc.), and they had to agree not to ship unapproved forks (modifications) of the Android OS,” Cimpanu reports. “In July, the EU ruled that this practice was illegal and fined Google.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s nice to see some governmental organizations, quasi or otherwise, attempting to reign in at least some of Google’s abuses. Google wanted to be able to take the smartphone market by knocking off Apple’s iPhone and giving it away for “free,” but then they realized that they were ceding too much control – after all, Android phones are meant to supply Google with users’ personal data which they can then sell to advertisers; Google apps are the conduit – so Google tried to stuff the genie back in the bottle by making an “official” Android with bundled apps.

Besides the fact that all of these Google apps are really just personal data-siphoning and ad-profiling tracking utilities, it’s anticompetitive to force Android phone peddlers to include them just to gain access to Google’s insecure, malware-ridden Play Store which in the low-to-no-bar world of Android phonedom is considered a selling point.

The EC fined Google because Google:

• has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store);
• made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and
• has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).

Google clearly breached EU antitrust rules as follows:

• Illegal tying of Google’s search and browser apps
• Illegal payments conditional on exclusive pre-installation of Google Search
• Illegal obstruction of development and distribution of competing Android operating systems

On, BTW, here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

And, here’s what cellphones looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

cellphones before and after Apple iPhone

People who buy Android phones and tablets reward thieves.

Why Google owes the European Union $5 billion – July 18, 2018
EU hits Google with record €4.34 billion fine for abusing market dominance – July 18, 2018