Yesterday, Google was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for its dominant advertising business. And while it's not directly related, the company has now promised to make some changes to its business practices related to Android in India following a $161 million fine by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Google will now allow smartphone vendors in India to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android devices. The company is modifying its business agreements with phone-makers so that they are not forced to bundle Google apps by default in their devices.
Moreover, Google will also allow consumers to change search engines and opt for third-party billing systems through a choice screen. Other, more technical, changes are listed below:
- We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants.
- Android has always supported the installation of apps from a variety of sources, including via sideloading, which involves app downloads directly from a developer’s website. We recently made changes to the Android installation flow and auto-updating capability for sideloaded apps and app stores while ensuring users understand the potential security risks.
Google has emphasized that these are complex changes which will take some time and cooperation from all concerned parties:
Implementation of these changes across the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers. Our commitment to Indian users and the country’s digital transformation stands undeterred.
Although Google says that it will continue to appeal the CCI's decision, it has agreed to implement the changes in order to comply with the order for now. It is also important to understand that all of these changes are restricted to the Indian market and are not meant to be applied globally.