Google reportedly charging Android OEMs for apps/services

|By:, SA News Editor

Though providing its version of Android for free to OEMs, a source tells the Guardian Google (GOOG) is now charging for access to its built-in apps and services, such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Now, and Google Play.

An OEM shipping 100K units is reportedly charged $0.75/device. That figure is a small fraction of the ~$15 Microsoft charges OEMs for Windows Phone licenses, and is also much less than the Android royalties Microsoft reportedly collects from licensees.

But with Gartner estimating 1.1B Android devices will be shipped this year (not all of which will have Google apps/services built-in), even small per-device fees can add up. More importantly, collecting small fees today can set a precedent that enables larger fees to be collected down the line.

One potential roadblock: The EU began investigating Google last spring over allegations it's violating antitrust laws by creating exclusivity deals with OEMs related to the bundling of its apps/services with Android.

Update: Google denies charging OEMs a licensing fee for its mobile apps/services. The Guardian's story has been amended.