The news comes after a record antitrust fine from the European Commission earlier this summer, which claimed Google's business practices around the Android mobile operating system hurt competition in the industry. The company has always stood by the argument that manufacturers are not required to include Google apps.
European Union antitrust enforcers in their July decision said Google's anti-competitive behavior, which dated to 2011, included forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser together with its Google Play app store on their Android devices. Another license will let phone makers include Google's search engine and Chrome browser.
It all sounds good, and more choices for manufacturers is a bonus. Google Search and Chrome will now be licensed (for free) as a separate and optional package.
"Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser", the announcement continues.
Who wins in this situation? He then goes on to list a number of changes Google will make in order to comply with the ruling while waiting for the appeal to be heard. In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai argued that users could easily install alternatives to Google's apps if they wanted.
"Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA", Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president for platforms and ecosystems, said in a blog. In the incredibly competitive and price-sensitive consumer electronics world, that's a tough cost to manage.
Realistically, this probably won't change much for most Android devices.