Google ate a fat fine worth about $161 million just a few months ago for engaging in shady practices to maintain its Android dominance in India and make a bajillion dollars, while at it. The Competition Commission of India wanted some significant changes to how Google services such as payments and search work on Android phones, but the company went crying to the Supreme Court, only to lose its humble appeal.
Budging under the pressure, Google has finally agreed to make those critical changes. Here’s an outline of what’s changing and why it matters:
- Search is the biggest money-maker for Google. If a company licenses Android for its phones, Google Search has to be the default search Engine. CCI has ordered Google to end that mandate. Now, when you set up a new Android phone, you will get an option to choose your default search engine for browsing the web and finding dirty memes.
- Every time you pay for an item in an app – like music subscriptions, player skin in a game, etc. – Google gets up to a capitalist-supervillain-grade 30% cut because it makes Play Store’s own payment system mandatory. After CCI’s ruling, Google will no longer force developers to use its own Play Store payment system. They can now use a third-party payment system to avoid the 30% tax. with a lower financial burden, developers might reduce the cost of subscriptions and other in-app purchases for us. Fingers crossed.
- Google won’t force a brand to pre-install its own apps like Gmail or Maps for getting access to Android. They can license only the apps they like, which means less bloatware on your brand-spanking-new phone. Sounds somewhat like the promise of BharOS, India's very own operating system to challenge Android.
You can read Google’s sob story blog post here.