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Google relaxes agreement with phone makers, allows third-party billing in India in major business renewal TechCrunch

Google is reviewing its business deals with phone makers in India and making a series of other changes in the South Asian market to comply with directions from the local antitrust watchdog.

The company, which was fined $161 million by the Competition Commission of India and ordered to make a series of changes to its business practices, said Wednesday it will allow smartphone vendors in India to license individual apps for pre installation on their Android devices.

The Android maker will also give consumers the ability to switch search engines and use third-party billing options for purchases of apps and games from the Play Store starting next month.

Following is the full set of changes that Google is rolling out in India:

  • OEMs can license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices.

  • Android users have always been able to customize their devices according to their preferences. Indian users now have the option to choose their default search engine through a selection screen that will soon appear when a user installs a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.

  • We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to reflect changes for partners to build non-compliant or forked variants.

  • User-choice billing will be available for all apps and games starting next month. User-chosen billing allows developers to provide users with the option to choose an alternative billing system in addition to Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.

  • Android has always supported installing apps from a variety of sources, including sideloading, which downloads apps directly from a developer’s website. We’ve recently made changes to the Android install process and automatic update capability for sideloaded apps and app stores while ensuring users understand the potential security risks.

More to follow…

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