Google is splitting up Chrome, Search, and Android for the European Union


We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. More than 80 percent of all smartphones run Android, as do more than 24,000 different kinds of devices.

Writing in a blog post, Google's senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer, reiterates that the company will be appealing against the EC's ruling, stressing its belief that "Android has created more choice, not less". Google will now charge a licensing fee for Android device makers that want to deliver handsets pre-installed with apps like Gmail and YouTube within the EU.

But here's the rub: now that Google is removing Search and Chrome from the app bundle, the two apps that actually make Google money, it will have to make the rest of its apps available through a paid license. "In July, the European Union ruled that this bundling was anti-competitive - pushing consumers towards Google's search engine and weakening rival app makers - though it only specifically called for Google to separate Chrome and Search from Play". But the full-featured version of the Android OS has required device makers to pre-install a package of Google's apps like Search and Chrome.

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.

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Since the revenue from including Search and Chrome helped fund development for Android, the exclusion of those two apps means that Google will now be charging a licensing fee for the Google app suite (which includes the Play Store and other Google services that define most Android devices).

Google says this new policy will take effect October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. Still, most of these services have struggled because of the Catch 22 situation in which they need more users generating content and algorithmic data. Alphabet, Google's parent company, makes nearly 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from search and advertising.

This will also hopefully appease Google competitors which complained the current business model stifled competition to such an extent other products couldn't even hope to compete.

The question is whether it's too late for competitors, in general.