Google to charge hardware makers up to $40 per device for Android mobile apps

Google [Alphabet Inc.] will soon charge hardware companies up to $40 per device to use Google apps, under a new licensing plan that will replace one struck down by the EU earlier this year as anti-competitive, reports Reuters.

On October 29, the new fee will go into effect on any new smartphone or tablet that Google launches in the European Economic Area, running Google’s Android operating system, the company said Tuesday.

The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. It is standard across manufacturers, with the majority likely to pay around $20, the person added.

Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by agreeing to bundle Google’s search and Chrome internet browser and feature them prominently. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.

The Verge reported the news earlier on Friday, citing confidential documents.

Android manufacturers will have to pay Google a surprisingly high cost in Europe in order to include Google’s Play Store and other mobile apps on their devices, according to documents obtained by The Verge. A confidential fee schedule shows costs as high as $40 per device to install the “Google Mobile Services” suite of apps, which includes the Google Play Store. The new fees vary depending on country and device type, and it would apply to devices activated on or after February 1st, 2019.

But phone manufacturers may not actually have to shoulder that cost: Google is also offering separate agreements to cover some or all of the licensing costs for companies that choose to install Chrome and Google search on their devices as well, according to a person familiar with the terms. Google declined to comment.

PHOTO: A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017. REUTERS

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