Google app licenses for Android phones in the EU will cost up to $40/phone

Google's Mountain View campus
Google's Mountain View campus (Image credit: Android Central)

Back in July of this year, the European Commission fined Google $5 billion for heavily pushing its software and services on Android phones. Google appealed to the fine on October 16, and one of the biggest changes to come out of said appeal is that Google will now start charging OEMs in Europe that want to use its apps without pre-installing Chrome and Search.

Up until now, it's been unclear exactly how much Google would charge. Thanks to a new report from The Verge, however, we now know that Google will require OEMs to pay up to $40 per phone.

That $40 per phone fee apparently applies to devices that have a pixel density on the display of 501ppi (pixels per inch) or greater. The pricing then works out as follows for lower resolutions:

  • $20 fee for devices with 400 to 500ppi
  • $10 fee for devices with 399ppi and lower
  • $2.50 fee for "lower-end phones in some countries"

In addition to the new fees, companies that choose to not install Chrome and Search on their phones won't receive any revenue that comes from Google searches on the company's browser. Per part of the agreement:

If the Company elects not to place the Google Chrome browser on the Application Dock for any Qualified Device(s) supplied into the European Economic Area, Company will not be entitled to any portion of revenue generated from Google Chrome for such Qualified Device(s).

These new rules are set to go into effect for any devices that are activated either on or after February 1, 2019.

Google response to EU fine allows forked devices, shifts un-bundled apps to paid license

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • That second part will probably raise some hairs on that woman that did this. Isn't Google charging for Play Store Access as well?
  • Most people will still go in and download the android apps mostly based on familiarity
  • Why on earth are these priced in dollars?
  • Because retarded journalist's on this site can't convert Dollars to Euro.
  • Yup. This way they can try to scare people into siding with Google when the consumer interest is in exactly the opposite.
  • Or maybe because Google is an US based company? And if a reader can't convert USD to EUR then I'm not really sure who is more retarded...
  • That's a cop out excuse. There's plenty of writers on here that take the time to show the US and converted nation's currency hand and hand. I honestly cringe reading Joe's articles cause a lot of time they are poorly written, misleading, and at some times inaccurate.
  • Because the USD dwarfs all other English speaking economies, get over it, your currency sucks.
  • Cause Murica das y
  • According to The Verge's article, the fees are in dollars. By the time 2019 rolls around, the conversion to Euros will likely have changed (like it does throughout each day).
  • I was about to say the same. Google will charge in dollars. What it will be in Euros will depend on the exchange rate. So today it will be €34.69 with an exchange rate of $1 being €0.87. If it changed to 1/1 then it will be €40.
  • Since this cost will almost certainly be passed on to customers, I hope the EU is happy now that they effectively made most Android phones in Europe more expensive to customers (at least the Android phones that people would actually want). Glad I am not there ...
  • This will increase the price, at most, in 30€. We're already accustomed to being screwed over by OEMs when they convert prices from dollars to euros as if 1€=$1. This is a very small price to pay to have freedom from Google's bloatware being made uninstallable on our phones.
  • Exactly. Not to mention that most of the phones sold are with lower pixel density anyway, so nobody is really getting hurt here. No matter which bracket you fall in, the extra fee is well worth it. people ***** about 5/10/20/40 dollar increase on phones that cost 100/200/400/800+ dollars, while the cheapest tpu bumpers and cases for these phones start around 5-10 dollars. Nice and decent case with screen protector usually can cost you 20-40 bucks. So if you are really on a budget (your phone won't have 2k screen) you will be paying 5 to 10 bucks more, which is not all that bad, since you won't be buying phones every other month. And yes, you can get a cheaper case and accessories if you need to ration. This scare of consumers being hit hard is a non sense. Maybe Americans think that European people can't afford any bump in price, because in US half of the households can't afford $500 emergency. Guess what, some people who really have it hard in EU, still don't have anxiety over choosing whether to pay for food , bill or health insurance and if they lose a job to end up in the streets. you know, there is a humane society w safety net in place. So, nobody will freak out about few extra bucks spent on something they need anyway.
    Android Central only has a few people who have courage to call Google out and see their monopolistic tendencies in recent years. Jerry Hildebrand is the most honest and educated in these matters, here.
  • Yes, an all too common result from the EU is to essentially tax a problem. Increasing costs to Android consumers is about the least market friendly result they could have come up with. Priced based on Pixel density of the display? 🤣. Curious what beaurocrat came up with this scam?
  • The article says "The European Commission ruling does not explicitly require Google to charge licensing fees", so it was most likely Google, not a bureaucrat, deciding the pricing.
  • Lol reading is tough these days, isn't it?
  • Thanks EU.
  • And people wonder why the UK is leaving the EU. Nothing but an unelected plutocracy making decisions that don't make any sense. All aboard the EU gravy train!
  • Blame your **** show of a government for Brexit not the EU🙄
  • This proves the bill came too late and proves the abuse of a dominant position.
    Fine them again !!!
    Privacy and freedom of choice is a right that cant be paid !!!
  • If they are adding tiers to countries in Europe, they WILL be finned again for discrimination lol
  • You are free not to buy an Android phone.
  • True dat!
  • Amen!
  • Actually, in the long run this might help google make more money, In EU lol. Because right now people will still use those apps minus some people that own a andriod phone but hate google with a purple passion. My guess they will start charging a fee for google apps, like google maps..etc.... to install on EU phones....
    I told my borther in Germany, that was for this.... be careful what you wish for you might just get it.... Why I left Europe long time ago too much taxes and red tape.......
  • Europe has no issue with Google making millions.
    We do have an issue with Google breaking the market rules and abusing their monopoly in things like search and phone software to impose their services on people. This isn't 'murica. You want to do business here, you play by our rules. Otherwise you get finned.
  • I didn't say Europeans had a problem with them making money read way to much what I wrote....
  • They should just ship the phone with their stock apps and allow a buy in on the consumer end for access to then, similar to the way Amazon has an opt out for Sponsored Content on their Kindle Tablets. This is also a good opportunity for companies like Microsoft and Samsung to experiment on the lower end with Android devices featuring their own ecosystems. Samsung devices already feel better when using their software, as opposed to Google's IMO; and they already have an app store where a lot of developers actively keep their apps up to date. Almost all of Microsoft's most lucrative apps are on the Galaxy Apps store, for example. Microsoft can create their own Android devices with their ecosystem and just use Samsung's app store on it, in theory.
  • Not quite sure I understood the outcome...the OEM will need to pay to preload the google apps? What if they don't and the consumer just downloads the apps? Is the google play store preloaded?
  • Google will likely have a way to know if the device is licensed, and may be able to block devices that pirate. Remember how they blocked Google Wallet on rooted devices? Same concept. OEMs are not likely to ship models in the US either Play Store and models in the EU without it this will make this easy. If you have a Google device not licensed, Google can just blacklist that model and side loading won't work as the servers will reject access. This is a revenue stream for them, now, and the best way to attack the EU is to create discontent among the user base. When people start complaining to the EU government, that will probably get them further than any court hearing (which will be biased against them, de facto).
  • IMHO I think that forcing Google to expose the so far hidden licensing cost will make the situation better in the longer run. If the gadget makers need really pay of Android, at least part of Google services, it givers competition something to compete against (I am looking you, Microsoft). Yes, there are other suppliers of digital assistant and mapping technologies like Microsoft in full and Amazon in lesser extent (1st class digital assistant technology sans mapping). So, I expect to see Android phones coming out with MS services with their store technology and/or play store but sans preinstalled Google ecosystem. I, for example, have quite complete workflow in my Nokia 8 based on MS and Facebook services like MS launcher, Cortana, Outlook, WhatsApp, Skype, FB Messenger, Onedrive, Onenote, Here Maps, Office 365 1 TB subscription etc (I am convert from Windows Phone/Mobile ecosystem). I think that my phone will do just fine with even with zero Google stuff minus Play Store. You do not really need Google on Android (AOSP) phone any other than Play Store reasons. There are one caveat of course if, for example MS, gets too strong foothold of Android ecosystem that Google abandons AOSP completely and heads to something else like its Google Fuchsia / Zircon / Flutter technology currently under development.
  • OEM will have to pay is they release a phone without Chrome and Search. Why? Because Google makes money with Chrome and Search every time you use it, so if Chrome and Search are not there Google does not make that money so they want to recoup it with those fees. Of course they won't stop the user from installing Chrome and Search later on, that would be actually the best case scenario for Google, they charge the fees and still make money out of Chrome and Search. The real problem here is Google forcing users to take their services and not giving any other choice to the user, specially with Search, Play Store and Google Services which are not uninstallable in some phones.
  • Good job Google.