Google has embarked on what seems to be a fairly major policy changes to how Android complies with the European Union (EU) norms, even as the company is fighting the anti-trust ruling tooth and nail. Back in July, the European Commission had ordered Google to stop asking phone makers to preload Google Search and Google Chrome web browser on Android devices—and Google was fined a huge $5 billion for antitrust violations. Now, the company is changing policy in terms of how the EU wants it to operate in the region. The charge will apply to any new handset running Android and launching after 29 October this year.
The actual charge will vary according to country and handset size and could be as low as $2.50, according to documents seen by The Verge, with Google estimating an average of $20 going up as high as $40. Under the new rules, OEMs will be able to avoid the charges if they give the Google App and Chrome browser prominent placement, which would, in turn, give the manufacturer a cut of ad revenue.
The same rules could see other manufacturers dive in to take that prominent place – the obvious example being Microsoft who has had its chestburster strategy prepared and ready to take over as soon as an OEM is ready for a “Microsoft Android” phone.