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Google to ease agreement with phonemakers, allow third-party billing in India in major business revamp

Google is revising its business agreements with phonemakers in India and making a series of other changes in the South Asian market to comply with local antitrust watchdog’s directions.

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

The Android-maker will also give consumers the ability to change search engine and use third-party billing options for apps and games purchases on Play Store starting next month, it said. 

Following are the full-set of changes Google is introducing in India:

  • Android users have always been able to customize their devices to suit their preferences. Indian users will now have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.
  • We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants.
  • User choice billing will be available to all apps and games starting next month. Through user choice billing, developers can offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.
  • 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.

More to follow…

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