After getting slapped by European Union with a record fine of $5 billion for abusing the dominance of the Android operating system, Google has released an official statement hinting a future where Android might not be free.
Google has been pushing its web browser and Google search while also preventing hardware makers from releasing handsets that run a forked version of Android, all things that the European Commission has given Google 90 days to cease. Just to recap, the Commission's complaint is that by bundling apps like Chrome and Google Search with must-have apps like the Google Play Store, Google has used Android as a platform to shut out competition from other search companies attempting to break into the space.
"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". These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.
The fine was issued over what the European Union describes as "illegal practices" over how the internet giant implements its search and web browser apps on the devices of Android smartphone makers.
Google is also accused of forcing smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei to preinstall its own services, such as Google Search and Google Maps, on Android. For free. In spite of the ongoing billions it's cost to build the operating system into what it is today.
This could be mere posturing from Google, and we'll have to wait and see what becomes of the appeal before we know whether this threat has any teeth or not.
After all, if Google can't rely on the revenue stream from Android, that could mean that device manufacturers might, down the line, be faced with paying for Android service - costs that could make for more expensive phones for users.