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Image credit: Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Google apps could cost manufacturers up to $40 per handset in the EU

The company is complying with an antitrust decision while appealing the hefty fine.
Dado Ruvic / Reuters

After Google was fined $5 billion by EU courts for forcing providers to make its own products the default on Android devices, the company is now separating Chrome and search from the rest of its suite of apps. The question has been, though, how licensing arrangements will work. According to documents obtained by The Verge, the fees will reportedly vary by country and the phone's pixel density (presumably to approximate how high end the phone is). These fees will be paid by phone manufacturers, not by consumers.

Now, these are just leaked documents, so there's no confirmation that this is actually how Google is going to structure its licensing terms. But according to The Verge, countries in the EU will be placed in one of three tiers. The UK, Sweden, Germany and Norway will be in the highest, and most expensive, tier. In these countries, it will reportedly cost $40 to license Google's apps for phones with a pixel density of 550+; mid-range devices would be $20, while handsets under 400ppi would pay just $10. For lower end phones in countries in the lowest tier, the fee could be just $2.50 per device. Tablets, meanwhile, would be on a completely different pricing structure.

It's important to note that Google hasn't actually paid the EU yet; the company is still in the process of appealing the record-setting fine. The company filed an appeal with the General Court of the EU earlier this month. However, Google is also obeying the antitrust agreement by changing its licensing agreement in the EU, but if this information is accurate, Google is clearly also incentivizing keeping the bundle together rather than splitting it. It's too soon to tell whether the company will stick to this exact pricing structure, but it will be interesting to see what it decides going forward.

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