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Android may not remain free after EU fine, warns Google CEO Pichai

Android may not remain free after EU fine, warns Google CEO Pichai
Sundar Pichai Photo Credit: Reuters

The European Union’s decision to fine Google for abusing the dominance of its Android operating system may force the tech giant to start charging mobile-phone makers.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post after the EU ruling on Wednesday that Android created more choice for everyone and that the decision rejects the business model that supports the operating system. Google intends to appeal this decision, he said.

The India-born executive said the free distribution of the Android platform, and of Google’s suite of applications, is "not only efficient" for phone makers and operators but is also of "huge benefit" for developers and consumers. 

"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...But we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms," Pichai said.

The EU had on Wednesday directed Google to stop using Android to block rivals. The EU also said that Google forces handset makers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser as well as the Google Play app store on their Android devices.

The Android operating system runs about 80% of the world's smartphones, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

The EU gave Google 90 days to either halt such anti-competitive practices or ask for a delay of the order while it appeals.

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