Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted the company may begin charging phone makers and operators to use its Android platform after the European Commission (EC) issued a hefty fine on the company.
The company has offered Android for free to device manufacturers and operators since 2007. It was able to do so thanks, in part, to its strategy of pre-installing revenue-generating apps including Search, Chrome, Play, Maps and Gmail products on Android devices.
In a blog post, Pichai noted Android users are free to disable or delete preloaded apps, adding Google only makes money from its preinstalled offerings if people use them.
However, following an investigation, the EC determined Google’s app bundling policy abused its dominant market position and gave the company 90 days to end the practice.
Pichai warned in a blog post the decision, which was accompanied by a €4.3 billion fine, could “upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android”.
“If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn’t include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model.”
“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less.”
Pichai said Google plans to appeal the ruling.