It will not be easy to found new ecosystems, but now there are all the prerequisites for this …
The very fact that Google in European markets will start charging for what might fairly be called the constituent 'parts' Android is already big news. The change, announced in a European Commission lawsuit on October 16, 2018, is a major turnaround in Google's business model and could potentially weaken Google's grip on search and browser markets. This is not a joke.
But of all the changes that the new licensing model can bring, the most important is not even paying for licenses. A critical detail could lead to the fact that within the European market, Google smartphone and tablet partners such as Samsung, LG and Motorola, will be able to offer their smartphones based on Android without preinstalled Google apps and services. This is an extremely important event, and if manufacturers have the courage, then it will be able to form a completely different market Android – devices in a few years.
Prior to this, Google had been 'holding back' device makers within its ecosystem. If companies wanted to pre-install their services and applications, then they were forced to do so on all devices they produced Android – devices, with the exception of China, where Google does not work. This means, for example, that Samsung with a high degree of probability could not release a variant of the S9, which would only have the Galaxy Store and the company's branded browser without Chrome, Google Play and Google search.
According to Google, the original terms did not prevent partners from releasing devices without the company's apps. They prevented uncertified versions from being sold Android, devices that were 'compatible' with Google apps could be sold even without the apps already installed. But it is not clear if there are certified commercial devices based on Android without Google apps.
By and large, the manufacturers were forced to agree to this agreement. Most Android – apps are distributed via Google Play, and many of them only work with Google Play services. Leaving Google would mean dropping their app catalog, which could imply the possibility of shipping the device without Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. Device manufacturers would have to rely on an alternative app catalog and convince developers to distribute their apps through it, and in many cases also redesign them to work without relying on Google services.
The European Commission saw this as a big problem. And as part of a $ 5 billion fine that Google must pay for 'illegal practices' with Android, the European Commission has demanded that Google stop imposing an exclusivity agreement on partners. As reflected in the panel's announcement, Google has prevented [users] 'access to innovation and smart mobile devices based on alternate OS versions Android' and in the process has 'closed an important channel for delivering apps and services to competitors'.
We have never seen such behavior of Samsung, Motorola, Sony, HTC, LG, none of them released Android – a device without Google . Now there is such a possibility. The question is if this is a good idea. All of these companies, with their catalogs of applications and support services, will turn the market into a mess for developers and consumers. The transition will be very unpleasant, it will weaken the already precarious situation in the premium Android applications market.
Or lead them to flourish. Samsung could go all-in with its app catalog, or an independent developer could create a service that would effectively become an app distributor. These directories can offer relatively better developer experiences and better security policies to protect users, which in theory would provide a better ecosystem for everyone.
Perhaps more importantly, we do not yet understand what results this will lead to. We can take a look at the example of China, where applications are broken down into many directories, none of which account for more than a quarter of the market, but even that doesn't paint the whole picture. Companies had no incentive to create different versions of devices, which speaks of completely different “hardware” for a particular country. They now have almost the entire European market to promote 'no Google' devices.
Even if this is not a revolution, it can lead to the emergence of significant projects. For example, the Amazon Fire tablets 'come' without Google services and are the cheapest offer on the market. And that means other companies have a lot to learn from Amazon. In its report, the European Commission mentioned that “evidence has been found that Google's actions have obstructed the development and sales of several major device manufacturers based on Fire OS, 'fork' Android '.
Who knows if companies will do this: they get royalties from referring users to Google Search, plus all consumers need Google apps. This exception is limited to Europe only, the court decision is made for this market. The restriction will not encourage companies to recruit a user base that would justify the creation of an alternative ecosystem, because the devices, in fact, will only be sold in Europe.
But trying is not torture. And that means Google needs to be on the lookout. Before that, manufacturers Android had no alternatives for devices. Now it is. For Google, which does not actually own Android, this could be the first major threat in a long time to undermine its global leadership.
Author – Jacob Kastrenakis
Oh, how many times have the world been told … But now manufacturers have a real chance to 'shoot' and press Google in the European market. The question is whether for the sake of this profit it is worth spoiling relations with the company, albeit in a single market. Nevertheless, we will have an interesting development of events. Which of the existing players do you think is capable of pushing Google into its own 'battlefield'?