Although Google declined to share pricing information, The Verge reported on Friday that the fee for the Play Store bundle will be as high as $40 per device for high-end devices, based on confidential “fee schedule” documents. Google declined to comment.
If true, that’s a pretty high cost, particularly if you believe that phone makers would pass that mark-up along to consumers.
However, an unnamed source told The Verge that Google will also offer device-makers separate agreements to cover some or all of the Google suite licensing costs —but only if the phone maker chooses to pre-install Chrome and Search as well.
So, if a phone maker decides that it needs the Play Store and can lower its fees by also pre-installing Chrome and Search, well…let’s just say the math favors keeping Chrome and Search around.
And so the status quo will likely remain largely the same: Android phones that come with the Play Store will also include Chrome and Search.
Yes, some phone makers could abandon the Play Store and go with a different Android app store. But other stores don’t have as many apps, including Google apps, although many can be “sideloaded,” or manually installed. Savvy users could even install the Play Store themselves, though there can be security risks.
The EU ruling also means that now phone makers can experiment with different devices that run different versions of Android. For example, phone makers could sell products running Amazon’s FireOS (based on the basic version of Android) or their own forks of Android, as well as phones with Google’s version of Android.
But these are corner cases. In all, the changes are likely too little too late to shake up the dominance of Google’s services in Europe.