This week Google announced that it would comply with an EU order to unbundle some of the apps it licenses to Android phone makers while appealing the ruling. The move would allow phone makers to include the Google Play Store and Gmail without loading the Chrome web browser or Google Search apps, for example.

But the move will cost phone makers: Google says it previously was able to give away Android and its core apps for free because Chrome and Google Search generate ad revenue from the company.

Now The Verge has obtained a document that gives us an idea of how much phone makers could have to pay: anywhere from $2.50 to $40.

The exact figure will depend on a variety of factors including the country, the pixel density of the phone, and which combination of apps a phone maker wants to load on their devices.

At the top end of the scale, a it could cost $40 to load the Google suite of apps (without Chrome and Search) on a phone with a pixel density of 500 ppi or higher that’s sold in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Norway, or the Netherlands.

It’s likely that most phone makers faced with such additional costs would simply raise the prices of their phones which means that the prices of some Android phones sold in the EU could go up.

Theoretically that could help level the playing field for companies that may be looking to provide alternatives to Android. But in practice it’s unclear that prices will actually go up very much, if at all.

It’s likely that some phone makers will opt to include Chrome and Google Search in order to reduce or eliminate any additional fees. Those that choose to use a different default web browser or search app will probably only do so if they have a financial incentive to do so… such as revenue sharing deal with a competing search provider. In that case, maybe we won’t see much change.

Whether any of this helps address the antitrust issues initially raised by the European Commission remains to be seen.

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11 replies on “Google could charge up to $40 to include its apps on Android phones in the EU”

  1. really Chrome and Google Search in order to reduce or eliminate any additional fees?

      1. Because it’s just rumor and speculation. Is there anything beyond saying that it was from “confidential documents? And the high end seems absurd. If there is a confidential Google document that mentions that number, it probably has a /sarc hashtag after it! 😉

        1. If The Verge really got an official document, that’s news reporting not rumor and speculation. I know there’s been some talk that “anonymous sources” means “made up sources;” but that’s not the way journalists work and the folks at The Verge are professional journalists.

          1. You are 1 of my favorites Brad, but wow. You are of an age that you shouldn’t be so naive.

            Both sides mislead & lie … constantly. If you don’t know that by now then you are 1 of them.

          2. What sides are we talking about here? I’m saying as someone who has worked in news media for two decades that when a major news organization says they’ve obtained this type of document they’ve usually done some work to check with their sources to ensure the accuracy of the claims. Do hoaxes make it through the cracks from time to time? Sure. But I wouldn’t call this rumor or speculation. It’s reporting based on information obtained from sources.

          3. I guess I don’t have enough familiarity with The Verge to have that level of trust, particularly given the lack of detail. But at least it wasn’t BGR!

          4. Nope, Kary you are entirely correct.
            The Verge was created by some fantastic technology journalists from Engadget (and thisismynext), however, that was years past the staff that originally worked there and their work ethos has certainly changed. I could actually pinpoint this transition, if interested, it happened after their big venture capital round at the end of 2014… and a large buyout by NBC a few months later.

            So yes, The Verge certainly deserves to be scrutinised and distrusted these days, they’ve definitely resorted to clickbaiting and reporting on unconfirmed rumours since 2015. Not saying that’s “bad” since that sort of journalism is definitely more profitable and this is a business at the end of the day.

        2. @Kary,

          Do you believe Bloomberg’s article about how Apple and others were hacked by supply chain hardware hacks of their servers? They only referenced “anonymous sources” and seen “documents”.

          1. SMO, I’m not familiar with that reporting, although I am familiar with the issue. But I hope that reporting gave a lot more specifics than just throwing out two numbers as the end points of a range. The complete lack of detail is part of the reason I’m commenting. You read the Verge article and it’s a big nothing.

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