Google has appealed the decision, arguing that the EU's accusations were unfounded, but on Tuesday said it would comply with the decision in order to avoid further fines. But we will likely see more companies experimenting with Google-free Android from here on out.
In addition, device manufacturers will now pay an unspecified license fee to have access to Google applications - such as Gmail or Youtube - that will come separately to the super dominant Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Now a mix of forked Android and Google Android will be allowed, but it sounds like it will only be allowed in the EEA.
First and foremost, Android will remain open source and device makers will be allowed to tweak the software to their own specifications.
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European Union regulators decided it was unfair for Google to force smartphone makers that used Android to also install its apps. Google was also told to stop "illegally tying" Chrome and its search apps to Android in a move similar to when Microsoft was forced to stop bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. "With the company now required to separate its services in Europe, handset manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei will now have more flexibility there to choose what applications they want to pre-install on phones".
"The pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android" Google vice president of platform said in the blog post.
This new license agreement is planned to go into effect on October 29th, 2018 for all new smartphones and tablets launched in Europe. It's possible device makers will pass this cost along to phone buyers. Although it comes with Progressive Web Apps on Windows, an AV1 decoder, and much more, the most important change is the ability to disable the new sign-in method that arrived with Chrome 69 and cause severe backslash due to the privacy concerns it generated.
Google has never charged for its apps because, as we all know, its business model relies on ads and searches, two things that get better traction if people are using its apps.