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Google Charging OEMs Licensing Fees For Play Store 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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Google Charging OEMs Licensing Fees For Play Store

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  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:37PM (#46051331) Homepage

    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...

  • by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:48PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:54PM (#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.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:03PM (#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:Shrug (Score:4, Interesting)

    by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:17PM (#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 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Scowler ( 667000 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @08:13PM (#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.
  • by crashumbc ( 1221174 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @08:28PM (#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

    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

  • by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Friday January 24, 2014 @12:12AM (#46053653)

    First off, I just want to clearly state that I have nothing against open source in general. I use VLC, Firefox, FileZilla, Putty, Linux, blah blah quite regularly. I appreciate openness as a design philosophy, and I CC-license almost everything I create. And besides, in many cases the open-source solutions are simply better than the proprietary ones.

    But I do not believe Android to be one such case. The thing is, for lazy users like me, openness is just one criterion to be balanced against simplicity and usability. And Android does not do so well in that regard, which I believe to be a direct result of its intentional openness. I will explain in more detail below.

    Then your problem is with the OEMs, not the open source components. And if you're in the US, the carriers.

    No, I believe my gripe is with the inherent openness of Android. Please let me explain.

    I believe Google embraced open source Android out of necessity, to get the carriers and OEMs on board. My guess is they believed they didn't stand a chance against iPhone's impending dominance unless they could convince the carriers and OEMs that they would be able to modify and brand their phones however they wanted to, to create a distinctly "them" experience and not just another behemoth out of their control -- meaning, they probably thought the OEMs and carriers didn't want to just swap Apple for Google and in so doing be reduced to indistinguishable common carriers. That would be a race to the bottom for them where all they could compete on would be minutes, data packages, and price (which is the situation now, but not when the iPhone and Android first came out). Instead, they sold the openness as an opportunity to for carriers and OEMs to create competitive advantages -- and charge non-commodity prices -- by differentiating their phone models from one another.

    When all iPhones are the same, your carrier doesn't matter as much. When one Android phone only exists on a single carrier and that's the phone you want, well, suddenly the OEM and the carrier both have meaning to you as the consumer again.

    Not terribly relevant, especially when you consider that Google created all of the open source bits of Android.

    It's not the Google open source stuff that's bad, it's the stuff everyone else added, changed, or removed because Android's openness allowed them to do so. It's a subtle but significant distinction. Openness isn't inherently bad, but Android's openness ceded Google control to less capable third parties, who by and large produced crap.

    The crappiness in this wasn't intentional (I would hope), but the openness was.

    If Google had retained complete control over its platform from the get-go, we would not have seen things like carrier-disabled tethering, Verizon's betrayal of the Nexus line, slow-ass/eternally-forgotten Android updates, useless bundled apps, conflicting address books / calendars, SIM/phone storage storage differences across vendors, device-specific apps and accessories, 400 different screen sizes and resolutions, etc.

    And if Google had done that, Android probably never would've taken off. So it's understandable why they chose it, but the result for end users is a much messier ecosystem of products and even services.

    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.

    >> Do you even know what you're talking about?

    I'm not sure what you dislike about that statement, so please clarify.

    I mean things like third-party Gmail clients (sometimes integrated into the phone), annoying OEM skins instead of the Google launcher interface, carrier-specific tethering solutions instead of the stuff built into Android, third party camera and gallery apps that leave out Panorama, Photosphere, and Picasa sync, third party address book solutions inferior to the Google contac

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard