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Google Charging OEMs Licensing Fees For Play Store

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the say-those-were-good-free-pills dept.

Google 225

An anonymous reader writes "Google has begun charging OEMs for access to its proprietary Play Store applications for Android though the reported amount is as low as 75c per device. Between charging OEMs for Google Play apps, showing ads within these apps (Search, Maps and GMail) and profiling users with the data it collects this does show that Google is willing to leverage their stranglehold on the mobile market to control and monetize wherever it can. Add that these proprietary applications and the proprietary Google Play Services are the primary areas for Android innovation and development and you end up with an operating system that is less and less 'free' in the freedom and cost senses of the word."

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Go ahead, give me one more straw! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051229)

I think I can take it!

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (0)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46051329)

Yes, the bad corporation is charging you money for your stuff. I'm sorry sir, would you like a free streak to go with your phone? How about a footrub for free?

If the value proposition doesn't add up, go to Apple.

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (4, Funny)

Zaelath (2588189) | about 8 months ago | (#46051633)

I'm sorry sir, would you like a free streak to go with your phone?

Dear God, no. Keep your pants on.

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46052617)

You'd pass up getting a peek at this adonis like physique? (Scratches under hairy belly)

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#46052011)

They're not charging me. They're charging the OEM, who will pass on the cost to me without providing me an option of opting out, for something that they will then use to harvest personal information about me to sell to advertisers. Give me a phone for $2 less without the Google crap and I'll happily take it in preference.

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (0)

NemosomeN (670035) | about 8 months ago | (#46052139)

$0.75? How about you leave that out and I'll take it for $2.00 less? How does that logic work? Besides, you can easily remove the Play Store from most devices. If not, this site might not be for you.

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#46052293)

No problem. Of course, the phone will cost approximately twice as much, as the worldwide market for such a phone is maybe a couple of thousand, versus phones with the full Google experience.

Re:Go ahead, give me one more straw! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052749)

They never gave anything away for free, you always paid some price along the way. Difference is now you arent just their product but you are paying them to be their product, the more locked in to their proprietary services the people and the application ecosystem become the more that price will rise.

That's fair enough (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051279)

It's an important service which needs decent maintenance. 75c is cheap for providing Google with the funds to moderate and protect users.

Re: That's fair enough (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051307)

Except that they don't. There is plenty of malware on the play store.

Re: That's fair enough (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 months ago | (#46051755)

Really What apps?

Re: That's fair enough (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#46052061)

Is that a serious question? Take a look at the proceedings from any security conference in the last 2 years and you can find a very long list. The latest trick is for individuals who release small apps for free or a token amount to be offered money to sell their app, especially if the app already asks for more permissions than it really needs (great incentives there...). The buyers then release a new version bundled with malware. The new version is installed automatically if it doesn't need any more permissions, and since most manufacturers don't ship software updates for Android phones in a timely fashion there are typically a few nice root vulnerabilities lying around on a significant fraction of the installed base. From there, the attacker can do what they want (attack mobile banking apps, harvest passwords, send premium-rate SMS, or just proxy all network traffic and inject their own ads, the last being the most common).

I know a couple of people who have turned down money to sell their (free, with only a few thousand users) apps for this purpose.

Re: That's fair enough (2, Informative)

knarf (34928) | about 8 months ago | (#46052359)

Oh well, there is plenty of malware on the Apple app store as well. The Windows store is also full of malware.

These statements are just as unproven as the one you just made. If you back up yours with some evidence, I'm sure I can find some for mine...

Re: That's fair enough (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 8 months ago | (#46052719)

If you back up yours with some evidence, I'm sure I can find some for mine...

Here, let me Google that for you [lmgtfy.com] .

fuckers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051281)

fuckers

Stranglehold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051321)

Google is willing to leverage their stranglehold on the mobile market.

This is funny considering I know four people with iPhones and only one with Android.

Around here, if you have Android, you get the "too cheap to get a real phone?" question.

Re:Stranglehold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051891)

Pretty much. As someone involved in cross-platform app development, iOS is still the undefeated king at around 75% of app sales. Even better, iOS sales result in 1.5x-2x better return on average overall.

It's about time Google made their app ecosystem useful and usable, and that is going to cost money.

Re:Stranglehold? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#46052099)

Pretty much. As someone involved in cross-platform app development, iOS is still the undefeated king at around 75% of app sales. Even better, iOS sales result in 1.5x-2x better return on average overall.

How do the revenue numbers look when you add in apps? The last numbers I saw were about a year ago so things may have changed, but back then iOS users were a lot more likely to buy apps, but Android had a much bigger share of downloads for ad-supported apps. The revenue was about the same for both platforms, because you'd get less from the ad sales in Android apps, but you'd get more downloads.

Re:Stranglehold? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 8 months ago | (#46052733)

Where is this "here" you speak of? I'm curious to observe their reactions when I use my laptop to make a call with Google Voice instead of the adequately sanctioned device.

Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1, Troll)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 8 months ago | (#46051325)

I found this Ars Technica article [arstechnica.com] about how hard core Google is kind of interesting. Kind of made me sympathetic for all the work that Amazon has to do to get the Kindle Fire working.

Also, for those who don't know, KitKat [arstechnica.com] has Google Now taking over your home screen, meaning Google now listens on your microphone 24/7 (as if it hasn't already).

Is Apple now the white knight, saving us from Android domination? No of course not, but interesting to see how quickly the idea of Google owning the world has switched. I mean, I can turn off the microphone for certain apps in iOS, but can't in Android.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (5, Informative)

thechanklybore (1091971) | about 8 months ago | (#46051421)

Nonsense. Google Now voice activation only works on a few models (and can be switched off), plus the launcher with Now integrated is solely available for the nexus 5. Please stop the FUD.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#46051635)

There are the SELinux policies that got checked into 4.5 a few days ago which make it impossible for even a program running as root to extract and run files in the /data filesystem. Not an impossible task, but it will require all root apps to be re-engineered.

I don't think Google did this to lock out root apps, but plug some vulnerabilities, but there is a lot of bellyaching about this. It would be nice to have some switch to allow root apps (or just the su binary) to have their own SELinux security contexts, or a way to turn SELinux off without changing kernel arguments.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#46052183)

Nice to actually be able to see the damn source though, isn't it?

What if Samsung threatens to fork? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46051475)

Then what? Wouldn't Google have to cave given the enormous market share Samsung has amongst all Android devices?

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051535)

Samsung can't (realistically) fork. They've agreed not to as part of their membership in the OHA. To fork they would have to leave Android compatibility behind. Meaning whatever OS they create cannot be Android compatible. Its not going to happen. Nor can Google get rid of Samsung as they have become the dominant player in Android. I think both companies would prefer the relationship were different, but neither is in a position to do anything about it.

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46051805)

Samsung can't (realistically) fork. They've agreed not to as part of their membership in the OHA. To fork they would have to leave Android compatibility behind. Meaning whatever OS they create cannot be Android compatible. Its not going to happen. Nor can Google get rid of Samsung as they have become the dominant player in Android. I think both companies would prefer the relationship were different, but neither is in a position to do anything about it.

AOSP is freely available for anyone, including Samsung, to take and fork. It's what Amazon did.
Unless you know of specific contractual terms Google and Samsung have agreed to, Samsung is free to do what they want.
If you do know of specific contractual terms Google and Samsung have agreed to, please post them, read them, then realize that Samsung is still free to do what they want - they'd just have to pay any penalties stipulated in the contract if they breach it.
Hint: You don't know of any specific contractual terms Google and Samsung have agreed to.

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 8 months ago | (#46051987)

The terms of using the Android trademark require that you can't distribute any kind of fork of Android. This is why Amazon makes sure to NEVER use the word Android anywhere on its products, nor can they ever have anything to do with the Play store.

Android the OS itself is still very much open, but the Android trademark isn't (nor is any trademark for that matter - the whole point of a trademark is to be exclusive rather than open.)

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (2)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about 8 months ago | (#46052121)

Quote from http://www.amazon.com/kindle-f... [amazon.com] :

All-New Fire OS "Mojito"

New Kindle Fire tablets are powered by the latest version of Fire OS—Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito", which starts with Android and adds cloud services

As far as I understood the restrictions, they could use the word Android, but they can't use the Google logo or Google Apps (Mail, Maps and others) without Googles permission. For Samsung, they might not be allowed to fork Android, but they do invest in Tizen. I'm looking forward to finally see the first devices.

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052273)

He said "Samsung can't (realistically) fork." because it would mean they would be kicked out of the OHA and lose all Google services and then need to provide all of those themselves. These services were originally part of the free Android however now that Android has taken hold of the market and people are used to using those services they have taken a bait-and-switch approach to now making the handset manufacturers pay for it. I suspect it wont be long before they start charging significantly more for those services.

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (4, Interesting)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 8 months ago | (#46052377)

And the fact that Samasung, is working VERY hard to replace all the Google apps with their own versions.

calendar, googleNow, and mail ALL are either off or not installed by default on the S4

S-voice
Scalender
and plain mail being the defaults

It will be interesting to see what Samsung does on the S5 (openmaps maybe?)

Samsung WILL either switch to Tizen OR fork Android in the next couple years, its coming...

Personally, I hate the Samsung apps, I'll never buy another unless I can get a version without touchwiz(horrible) and Samsung's crapware

Re:What if Samsung threatens to fork? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052577)

Samsung already has it's own app store, I have a Note II and have to visit the samsung app store to update polaris office, and a few other "Samsung Only" apps. I doubt developers that normally contribute to Play store will begin to contribute to the samsung app store, but it's a possibility. I'm a bit worried that every OEM will soon have their own app stores, with each model locked down to the OEM's play store, unless a paid for service is activated allowing access to the Google Play Store.

If google wants to monetize the Play store, why don't they make non-OSS, paid apps, pay a distribution fee?

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (2, Interesting)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 8 months ago | (#46051477)

You know, as counter-Slashdot as it is to say this, I am really glad Google is closing off its Android apps. The worst parts of Androids have always been the open-source components, the modifiable OS and UI that third-party carriers and OEMs routinely turn to crap. The best parts of Android have always been the Googly bits, everything from Gmail to GCal to Hangouts to Google Now.

This may be an unpopular idea around here, but it can be argued that Google makes better software -- and more significantly, UX designs -- than the open-source world. For folks like me who just want a way to effectively use their Google accounts on the go, Google usually does it a lot better first-party than third party, open-source attempts.

To be clear: I've preferred Android not because it is open source, but because I hoped it would become Google's answer to the iPhone, an easy-to-use mobile access point for the Google ecosystem, free of clutter, viruses, etc. I WANT a closed Google Phone because it's less messy and better integrated.

It's just my opinion, but open source isn't everything to everyone. Usability matters more to some, and in this case Google is a lot better at it than most third parties.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46051611)

What they are closing off has nothing to do with the ability of OEMs and others to make custom home screens and launchers nor are they going to block that.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46052117)

Strangely enough, iPhones also have a pretty good integrated Google Apps experience. Google spends a lot of effort porting their important apps to iOS, and it shows.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#46052195)

If you look at many of the lists of 'best Apple apps', Google apps frequently dominate the lists.

Re: Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 8 months ago | (#46052783)

Be careful, Google, lest you alienate users ala Adobe.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 8 months ago | (#46051669)

Also, for those who don't know, KitKat [arstechnica.com] has Google Now taking over your home screen, meaning Google now listens on your microphone 24/7 (as if it hasn't already).

no, it doesn't. you have to start the google search / google now app for it to listen.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 8 months ago | (#46052827)

Nexus 5 has dedicated voice recognition hardware that listens even when the main CPU on the phone is in sleep mode. It can wake the main CPU when it hears a magic phrase ("OK Google"). Google Now isn't listening on the mic though - if the magic phrase has not been detected, the audio never leaves the dedicated voice IC.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051747)

...I mean, I can turn off the microphone for certain apps in iOS, but can't in Android.

You own a mobile phone that is authorized for sale inside the United States of NSAmerica.

If that statement is true, I find it fucking hilarious that you actually think any microphone is capable of being turned "off".

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 months ago | (#46051995)

> as if it hasn't already
Was it doing it already, or not?

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052251)

There is a white knight saving us from Google domination while still firmly grounded in the Android camp: Cyanogenmod. They're starting to ship presintalled in devices, now. I hope it's an ongoing trend, since the true power of open source is the ability to fork. And if more and more closely related forks appear, Google will want to keep everything compatible with its Play Store, which will halt its gradual proprietarization (eh?) of Android.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | about 8 months ago | (#46052471)

There is a white knight saving us from Google domination while still firmly grounded in the Android camp: Cyanogenmod. They're starting to ship presintalled in devices, now. I hope it's an ongoing trend, since the true power of open source is the ability to fork. And if more and more closely related forks appear, Google will want to keep everything compatible with its Play Store, which will halt its gradual proprietarization (eh?) of Android.

The pre-installed Cyanogenmod on the Oppo N1 is Google certified, akin to TouchWiz on Samsung, Sense on HTC, or Timescape on Xperia, and not exactly a fork.

Re:Google already has a noose on manufacturers (1)

ameyer17 (935373) | about 8 months ago | (#46052721)

The only phones where the mic is always on are the Moto X, Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, and Droid MAXX. The Nexus 5 is the only phone with the Google Experience Launcher, which only listens when the home screen is on.

For those worried about the Droidocalypse (3, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | about 8 months ago | (#46051331)

You know, where Android supplants all other OSs and electronic-based lifeforms?

Yeah, not going to happen. Google is now going to monetize, so you'll see forks like Amazon FireOS. Or you might see a resurgence of WindowsPhone Yes Android will continue to dominate, but it's not going to become some monoculture.

And somewhere in Cupertino, Tim Cook is laughing quietly...

Re:For those worried about the Droidocalypse (0)

SeaFox (739806) | about 8 months ago | (#46051407)

You know, where Android supplants all other OSs and electronic-based lifeforms?

Yeah, not going to happen. Google is now going to monetize, so you'll see forks like Amazon FireOS. Or you might see a resurgence of WindowsPhone...

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let's not start talking crazy here.
I'd think we'd see wider adoption of the FirefoxOS on phones instead.

Re:For those worried about the Droidocalypse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052231)

Also, Samsung has been working pretty steadily on Tizen and EFL, so if they *really* need to, they could just start shipping phones with that instead. Not that I think they will, people like and want Android, but they are carefully keeping their options open.

Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051335)

Google is willing to leverage their stranglehold on the mobile market to control and monetize wherever it can.

If "leverage their stranglehold" means "make money of the stuff they make" then yeah, I guess they would be willing to do that.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051647)

That sort of puts things in perspective.

Since when did making money become such a crime?

Re:Hmmm (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46051895)

You must be new here.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#46052203)

Apparently you're only allowed to make it on locked-down hardware these days, and you should be proud if paying so much.

Shrug (0, Troll)

Kagato (116051) | about 8 months ago | (#46051349)

Given Android users are loath to actually pay for apps I think it make sense. Despite have a tremendous number of Android smart phones active world wide and over 48 billion apps installed the Apple App store blows away Google Play revenues.

Re:Shrug (3, Interesting)

farble1670 (803356) | about 8 months ago | (#46051787)

Despite have a tremendous number of Android smart phones active world wide and over 48 billion apps installed the Apple App store blows away Google Play revenues.

that's like saying people who own $1M+ homes also spend more on cars. duh? apple sells high-end devices, and it's users spend for money on add-ons such, peripherals, and cases.

google doesn't care. they want people using their search and services. sure, they are happy to earn $ from the play store, but search profits dwarf what apple makes on their app store. the are about getting the largest # of devices in the most hands, not add-on sales.

Re: Shrug (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46051923)

Google makes more lifetime revenue from each iOS device sold, on average, compared to each Android device, on average. Even if we limit the comparison just to high end Android devices, it's probably a close comparison.

Re:Shrug (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 8 months ago | (#46052017)

> apple sells high-end devices, and it's users spend for money on add-ons such, peripherals, and cases.

Apple sells expensive devices, but there's nothing high end about the 5S; it's in the same class as the Nexus 5, only for twice as much money.

Re:Shrug (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 8 months ago | (#46052113)

Apple sells expensive devices, but there's nothing high end about the 5S; it's in the same class as the Nexus 5, only for twice as much money.

Does the Nexus 5 come with a calculator for those who are willfully obtuse when it comes to math?

Re: Shrug (1, Interesting)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46052247)

Funny, I never see this attack directed towards Samsung Galaxy devices, which cost roughly the same as iOS devices, run Android, and dwarf Nexus devices in terms of units sold. Go figure.

Re: Shrug (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46052701)

Are you counting Galaxy Nexus as a Galaxy or Nexus?

Re:Shrug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052295)

Given that there's no android device out there with a faster GPU, or with a faster CPU for either single or two threaded performance (by such a margin that the iPhone often beats android devices at 4 threaded operations despite only having 2 cores), I'd say yes, it's high end.

Re:Shrug (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 8 months ago | (#46052801)

I have Android installed on my laptop. Pretty sure that's faster than any IOS crap

Re:Shrug (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 8 months ago | (#46052181)

that's like saying people who own $1M+ homes also spend more on cars. duh? apple sells high-end devices, and it's users spend for money on add-ons such, peripherals, and cases.

Not when there are high-end Androids with add ons and peripherals and cases. duh?

Re:Shrug (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 8 months ago | (#46052825)

do you have any breakdown of how much high-end android phone users spend on apps vs. apple users? no? do you know they don't spend as much as apple users? duh. it's well understood that there are many, many more low-end android devices compared to zero low-end apple devices.

it doesn't take a genius here to understand that the difference is economic.

I thought they were already charging (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46051371)

I thought they were already charging for access to the Google Play store and Google Apps like Maps. I thought that was why Android based devices like the Nook, Kindle; and Cyanogenmod releases didn't include access to Google Apps and the Store. Is that just a licensing restriction?

Is a 75 cent fee really significant to anyone that wants their Android device to have access to the Google Apps and Play store? It's not like there aren't alternatives (though the Google Maps alternatives are lacking).

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051537)

75c per phone could make Samsung look into developing its own alternatives for the google apps. With 80M android in Q3 2013 alone they look at over 200 million in licensing fees in 2014.

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 8 months ago | (#46051811)

to a big poly corporation like samsung, giving out even the smallest sliver of pie isn't tolerable. samsung has their own android-clone operating system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46051963)

to a big poly corporation like samsung, giving out even the smallest sliver of pie isn't tolerable. samsung has their own android-clone operating system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

I think you mean Tizen [wikipedia.org] , as far as I know, Samsung has given up on Bada.

I'm looking forward to seeing some Tizen devices, the more players the better. Microsoft hasn't shown itself to be a strong contender, so hopefully Tizen will do well.

Re:I thought they were already charging (2)

rtaylor (70602) | about 8 months ago | (#46052059)

It may have been Samsungs idea in the first place.

Large companies like to poo-poo regulation, fees, etc. but they also realize it increases the barrier to entry which greatly benefits them.

Samsung has healthy profit margins and can cover the cost. Other manufacturers Samsung competes against will struggle just a bit more as a result. Some new guy on the block is really going to struggle if it's up-front per device manufactured and not done on a per-sale basis.

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46051871)

I thought they were already charging for access to the Google Play store and Google Apps like Maps. I thought that was why Android based devices like the Nook, Kindle; and Cyanogenmod releases didn't include access to Google Apps and the Store. Is that just a licensing restriction?

Is a 75 cent fee really significant to anyone that wants their Android device to have access to the Google Apps and Play store? It's not like there aren't alternatives (though the Google Maps alternatives are lacking).

AOSP is free.
Android is not. OEMs pay unknown amounts of money (lots) for access to Android. The earlier you want access, the more you pay. If you want to launch a flagship product as the first wave of products with the latest Android version, you pay a lot for the privilege.
Google is now also charging for their "apps", which used to be free (or buried in other costs related to the overall Android agreement).

Since we don't know the specifics of the pricing structure between Google and any given OEM, we don't know if this will end up costing them more or not. It may now be possible for an OEM to pay for Android without the Google apps and end up paying less than they were before for Android bundled with the Google apps. It may be the same. Or it may cost more.

The interesting thing about this is that given Google's position in the market, and the separate nature of the Google apps from Android, they may not be legally able to require OEMs to buy into Android in order to have the privilege of buying into Google apps. This would then open up the possibility for other OEMs to buy the Google apps and NOT Android. Anything running off of AOSP or some fork of it (such as the Kindle) may be able to be bundled with the Google apps if they pay the piper.

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 months ago | (#46052035)

> they may not be legally able to require OEMs to buy into Android in order to have the privilege of buying into
> Google apps.

Google can decide who to sell their apps to. If they decide to only sell, say, Maps for use in Android, then that's that, as far as I can tell. Google is the piper.

Re:I thought they were already charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052553)

We can already see where this is going, after establishing market dominance they have shifted from free and open apps to non-free, paid, proprietary apps. They have also poured development effort into their proprietary Google Play Services rather than to AOSP such that if app developers want to use the new features they have to make Google Android applications and not just Android applications which is yet another way for Google to create vendor lock-in.

Slowly but surely they are moving from a free and open operating system to a vendor lock-in proprietary system, they are the Microsoft of the mobile space but with one difference: they also build profiles on you to use for advertising by mining your data. It used to be that the services were free of cost because the cost was made up for with advertising revenue but they are now charging OEMs for it, sure the cost is small now but not so long ago it didnt cost anything and was free and open, it has gone a long way from that in a very short space of time so if you think a 75 cent fee will be the end of it you are looking at this with google glasses on.

Re:I thought they were already charging (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46052607)

Slowly but surely they are moving from a free and open operating system to a vendor lock-in proprietary system, they are the Microsoft of the mobile space but with one difference: they also build profiles on you to use for advertising by mining your data. It used to be that the services were free of cost because the cost was made up for with advertising revenue but they are now charging OEMs for it, sure the cost is small now but not so long ago it didnt cost anything and was free and open, it has gone a long way from that in a very short space of time so if you think a 75 cent fee will be the end of it you are looking at this with google glasses on.

Why do you think Microsoft isn't also building profiles on you to use for advertising by mining your data?

Re:I thought they were already charging (0)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46052735)

One difference between Microsoft and Google is that Google doesn't charge $99 per year for the privilege of sideloading.

Re:I thought they were already charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052839)

One difference between Microsoft and Google is that Google doesn't charge $99 per year for the privilege of sideloading.

When Microsoft dominated they didnt do that either. Their platforms that do that (Windows Phone and Windows 8's Metro UI applications) are a rounding error in the post-PC era where Microsoft has no power anymore so they arent even worth a mention. Microsoft's power and dominance are waning but the oppressive presence in the industry lives on in Google.

75 cent fee (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 months ago | (#46052683)

If your vendor doesn't want to play ( no pun intended ) and send Google what could amount to millions with all the hassle that goes with it, you cant just pony up the 75 cents yourself.

If it comes from Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051423)

Just have to say this.

If it comes from Google it is not free, not matter what they say there is a price attached to it, be it your personal information or your time. Google cannot exist without you but you can live without Google.

Another moron submitter (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 8 months ago | (#46051439)

Cooking up Android costs money. You expect Google to pour all that money for nothing?

Re:Another moron submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051657)

To the OP: the Play Store is Google's. If they decide to start charging and the OEMs do not agree, there is nothing that prevents them from launching a different store for apps. The summary makes it look like the Play store is the only way to install applications, which is not the case.

Re:Another moron submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051769)

And by the OP, I meant the moron that submitted the original "article".

Remember Microsoft? No? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052599)

Yeah and Windows is Microsoft's, if they decide to start imposing whatever conditions they want on it and the OEMs do not agree there is nothing that prevents them from selling their systems with a different operating system ... because that worked out so well didn't it. Google are becoming more like Microsoft every day but the community of shills and apologists just keep on denying the obvious truth.

It is a clear bait-and-switch: get OEMs to use your software under the guise that it is "free" and then when everybody is locked-in you start charging them for it.

Re:Another moron submitter (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46051677)

For nothing? So they make no revenue from the apps they sell or the ads?

Re:Another moron submitter (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 months ago | (#46052699)

They make plenty of cash without locking the store down like this. Furthermore, this isn't really about money, its about vendor lock-in and control of OEMs.

Yes, its their store and they can do whatever they like, but they make regret it in the long run by locking companies out.

The transformation is complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051447)

Google is the new Microsoft. Do evil. Sorry open source advocates, you were snookered.

Boy are you naive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46051455)

Did you honestly expect any different ?

Google is a corporation who is out to make money for its shareholders, end of story.

Open source always allowed monetization (0, Flamebait)

msobkow (48369) | about 8 months ago | (#46051563)

Open source always allowed for monetization of services and content data.

The only ones surprised by this are the freetards, who think "free software" means "zero cost".

It does not.

What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 8 months ago | (#46051575)

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see what the big deal is. Like it or not, Google exists to make money. If they feel they have enough leverage to charge people for stuff that used to be free (be them consumers or OEM's), then so be it. If the market can't bear it, the endeavor will fail.

Too often I hear the people complaining about products or companies are the same ones buying their stuff. We are asking for companies to regulate themselves and do what's in our best interest, when we can't even regulate ourselves. I think that's the whole reason government regulation even exists for things like this, is because people know they lack the willpower to make a chance on their own (stop buying the product), thus need some kind of external force to demand it.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052271)

I don't know why people are so surprised.

If you're paying attention (and not a mindless apple hater) you'll notice android's success is tightly correlated with how iOS - like it becomes. Locking it down, making it more tightly integrated, tighter requirements, more strict agreements with OEMs. All of these become much stronger with each iteration. Android also gets better, and more popular each time too.

I've got an iphone 5s and a 2013 nexus 7. I love my iphone and I doubt I'll switch anytime soon, but my android tab has displaced my ipad. Android keeps getting better.

Response to Microsoft making it free? (1)

omtinez (3343547) | about 8 months ago | (#46051743)

Funny how things change. Now OEM partners can slap WinRT for free on any device as long as they pass the certification tests, and Google charges for access to a store on which they take a significant cut of every sale. If they keep squeezing that cow for more milk...

How cheap! (2)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46051763)

$0.75 cents for what is essentially a collection of apps. Wow!

Re:How cheap! (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46051953)

Its just one app really, Google Play. The article is a bit wrong saying Maps, Search and GMail are being charged for. They free to download, once you've got Google Play.

Re:How cheap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052263)

Its just one app really, Google Play. The article is a bit wrong saying Maps, Search and GMail are being charged for. They free to download, once you've got Google Play.

So get them up to a mirror near you and lets ditch the app store already ..

Good news! (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#46051939)

It shows Google is feeling the heat.
Isn't compettiton great?

if ads, then bail (1)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 8 months ago | (#46052095)

When Google starts putting advertising in their mobile applications, then it's time to find a provider that doesn't. I've already paid Google directly for the phone there's no excuse for them to be pulling a Myspace after I've already given them access to nearly everything about me through the device.

It's not that much (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about 8 months ago | (#46052175)

It's probably less than Microsoft scam from OEMs for their bogus patents

It seems it's just a bunch of FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052401)

The news is

http://androidandme.com/2014/01/news/licensing-google-apps-for-android-costs-under-a-dollar-on-average/
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/23/how-google-controls-androids-open-source-software

"The Guardian claims to have discovered the cost of licensing these Google Apps."

So it's not something Google "has begun" now. It's something he's doing since always.

Also, this does not change nothing about Android (the operating system) being opensource, since we are talking about Play Services, which are NOT the Android operating system. What's the problem with a software company asking money for a program?

You can still build a pure Android device, with no closed source applications, using some other market (Amazon, fDroid) or no market at all,
just because whatever haters may say, Android IS and WILL BE open for the forseeable future.

What is the big deal? (1)

linuxguy (98493) | about 8 months ago | (#46052421)

I am trying to understand what the big deal about any of it is? If I am a phone manufacturer or a hobbyist, I have the option to use Android as-is without Google Play.

With Android you get a lot for free. With Apple, RIM and MS, not so much. The poster is complaining that with Android *everything is not free*. Horror of horrors! It is an extremely stupid post!!!

I'd take a mostly open mobile OS where you have to pay for some things over a mostly closed mobile OS where you have to pay for most things.

Re:What is the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052579)

I bought an android phone some time back, downloaded a few applications via the pre-installed pre-Play-Google-download-manager-app. One of the apps would no longer work and needed to be updated. I was forced to update to the Google-Play app to download an app-update as the pre-installed download-manager was considered 'obsolete'. I was forced to accept new Terms of Service or my phone would not work.

We need an open-source public-download manager for apps.
Once I download an app, I should not have to go thru a download-manager to update that app.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46052757)

If you want an open source download manager for open source apps, try F-Droid.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46052831)

You can also go to Amazon or Opera they both have Android stores.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 months ago | (#46052723)

Without Google services, the value of an android device drops significantly.

Its not just about the 'market', as you also lose the entire Google ecosystem, Drive, Hangouts, etc etc.. Some you can access via web interfaces, some by 3rd party and others you cant get to at all.., and the ones you can manage to get to work wont will be fully integrated and its a huge kludge.

Are prostitutes working for pimps "free"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052435)

"Add that these proprietary applications and the proprietary Google Play Services are the primary areas for Android innovation and development and you end up with an operating system that is less and less 'free' in the freedom and cost senses of the word."

Everyone is being sold by Google -- whether they consent to be (use google apps) or not. Those who use the apps are actually complicit; they are prostitutes.

A future for "generic" and old devices? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 months ago | (#46052659)

So what does this mean for people that run alternate OSs built from source ( like CMxxx ) or have "generic" products? What about people that have existing products with no vendor support? We will not have Google services at all and Google will disable it ( not just the play store, but everything that goes with services )?

Makes the devices pretty worthless for many, and might even drive people away from android.

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